Sarah Champion quits Labour front bench over rape article

Labour shadow minister Sarah Champion has quit the party’s front bench after criticism over a newspaper article she wrote about grooming gangs.

The Rotherham MP wrote in The Sun that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

She has now apologised for her “extremely poor choice of words” and quit as shadow equalities minister.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had accepted her resignation.

Ms Champion’s article was written after 17 men were convicted of forcing girls in Newcastle to have sex.

Mostly British-born, they are from Iraqi, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian and Turkish communities.

In interviews following the convictions, the Labour MP said such crimes involved “predominately Pakistani men” and said a fear of being called racist was hampering the authorities’ investigations.

She then penned the Sun article, which also included the line: “These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.”

Among the article’s critics was fellow Labour MP Naz Shah, who said it was “irresponsible” and “setting a dangerous precedent”.

Announcing she was stepping down, she said: “I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in The Sun article on Friday.

“I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career.

“It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.”

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