Just one week after party leader Michael Howard’s Burnley speech denouncing the British National Party, he was forced to take disciplinary action against the politically incorrect face of Conservatism. His swift decision to remove the party whip from Ann Winterton and apologise to the Chinese community found favour with the left-leaning press.
‘Dracula sank his fangs into the right neck’ noted the Daily Mirror, (27 February).
Winterton’s fightback on the Today programme, when she accused Labour’s Nick Palmer of making political capital out of her joke, gave rise to questions about freedom of speech, and the view that the joke was harmless fun. ‘Sick jokes are a healthy reaction’… ‘They relieve tension,’ opined The Daily Telegraph (29 February).
Whatever the rights or wrongs of sick jokes, the Tories need to be more careful about what they say if they are to play the race card.
Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek by NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com