Devon MP 'hasn't got a racist thought in her head'

A Conservative MP suspended over the use of racist language has received the backing of the president of her local constituency party.

Sylvia Russell, the president of Newton Abbot Conservative Association, told ITV West Country that Anne Marie Morris has apologised unreservedly for what she accepts was a mistake. She dismissed calls for Ms Morris to stand down as an MP, insisting she "hasn't got a racist thought in her head".

Theresa May ordered the Conservative whip to be suspended after it emerged Ms Morris had described the prospect of Britain leaving the EU without a deal as "the real n***** in the woodpile".

Everyone we spoke to in Anne Marie Morris' constituency of Newton Abbot said her language was unacceptable.

Local race campaigners were also unimpressed.

I'm really pleased that she's unreservedly apologised however I don't think it's enough. I'm pleased with Theresa May's actions in removing the whip and should maybe question if she's got the credentials to be a member of parliament.

Julie Paget, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council
Anne Marie Morris being sworn into parliament earlier this year. Credit: ITV West Country

It is not clear how long Anne Marie Morris will be suspended from the Conservative Party for, or indeed whether any other sanctions will be involved. Sylvia Russell does not want to see the suspension last too long.

"I am sure that any suspension will be proportionate to what is involved. We don't want to lose the capabilities of such a good MP in Parliament as Anne Marie proved herself over the last eight years.

Sylvia Russell, President, Newton Abbot Conservative Association