‘They all look the same to me,’ said a Conservative MP after an alleged racist remark regarding non-white ministers.
Gray’s statements were purportedly made at a reception in Parliament last month, but media outlets just picked up on them this week, reigniting a new racial debate.
Gray allegedly introduced then-Covid-19 vaccination minister Nadhim Zahawi as the UK Health Secretary during the reception, according to the Daily Mail on Monday. Zahawi’s colleague Sajid Javid currently holds the role.
Gray apparently told the audience that “they all look the same to me” after being informed that he had misidentified the two ministers, before having “a private talk” with Zahawi, according to the Daily Mail.
Zahawi was born in Iraq and moved to the United Kingdom as a child. Javid was born in the United Kingdom to Pakistani immigrants.
Gray was accused of racism after the alleged encounter became public on Monday, and a Conservative Party representative told the Daily Mail that the party “does not condone racism or prejudice of any kind.” Gray’s remark was likewise labeled “misjudged” by the party. Gray was also reportedly requested to resign as commander of St. John Ambulance this week, with the organization stating that it does not condone racism “in any way, shape, or form.” “Following the event, we spoke with James Gray about our beliefs as an open, inclusive, and progressive charity,” the statement said.
Gray has officially denied claiming “they all look the same to me,” insisting instead that he claimed the two ministers “look extremely similar.”
Gray claimed to be “quite close friends” with both Zahawi and Javid in a statement, and stated that “the notion this is some sort of racist remark is absurd.”
Gray’s purported statements have elicited no response from Javid or Zahawi.
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