A British politician was labelled “racist” for expressing concern for women attacked and sexually assaulted by migrants in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Labour MEP Mary Honeyball made the astonishing attack on her European Parliament colleague Margot Parker during a meeting of the EU’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality in Strasbourg on Monday evening.
Debate was taking place about the incidents in Cologne on December 31 which saw over 100 local women attacked by more than 1,000 migrants. Police eventually described the attackers as being of Arab and North African appearance.
Mrs Parker, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, spoke up at the committee – also known as FEMM – stating: “This is what happens when you have an open door policy to countries and cultures where women are treated as second class citizens.
“The EU is providing the perfect environment for cross-border criminals to traffic and exploit people.”
She added: “The EU has no right to decide asylum policies – only elected and accountable national governments do.”
In response, Ms Honeyball said: “It’s very easy and it’s totally wrong to blame refugees and migrants for what is happening.
“I think we should stop doing this – it is essentially racist to blame the migrants and the refugees.”
Urging countries like the UK to take in more migrants, she added: “I would hope that the rest of you [on the FEMM committee] would discount the remarks [of Margot Parker] because they are wrong and they are racist and really should not be given any credence whatsoever.”
Louise Bours, MEP for the North West who often stands in for her colleague Ms Parker when she is unavailable to sit on the FEMM committee, said: “There you have it in a nutshell – Labour slinging outrageous slurs around without a care in the world.
“Is it not a fact that the women assaulted in Cologne were German? Is it not a fact the attackers were migrants? And is it not also a fact that the German government and the police force in Cologne have since admitted trying to cover up who the perpetrators were?
“Margot is one of the most caring people I know and somebody who is committed to women’s rights.
“Ensuring that people know what the full facts of an incident are rather than the rose-tinted version the Labour party want to push is precisely why UKIP has MEPs in the parliament in the first place – people trust us to tell them the truth.
“To describe Margot as racist in any way, shape or form is an ugly, evil thing to do, and I hope that Ms Honeyball will withdraw this outrageous slur at the first opportunity. If not, her leader Jeremy Corbyn should instruct her to.”