Activists who have denounced Rotherham’s MP are trying to shut down debate about real problems in their community
Last year, Sarah Champion resigned as Labour’s equalities spokeswoman after writing an article for The Sun about child sex grooming gangs in her Rotherham constituency. She had said that the assailants were “predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage”. And by and large she was right. As The Times reported over many years, and proved in the teeth of much criticism, the bulk of these crimes were committed by men of Pakistani origin.
Now it seems a serious effort may be under way to have Ms Champion deselected as the Labour candidate. Yesterday, we revealed that accusations of racism against Ms Champion and consequent threats to her on social media had been ramped up by a report published by a so-called racial justice charity. The authors had surveyed 165 people about the impact of Ms Champion’s remarks on Rotherham’s Pakistani community and discovered that they felt “scapegoated, dehumanised and potentially criminalised” by her. Nadeem Murtuja, acting director of the charity, Just Yorkshire, accused the MP of “industrial-scale racism”.