A Tory MP who used a racist term has had the whip withdrawn by party chiefs, HuffPost UK has learned.
Anne Marie Morris was recorded by HuffPost UK using the offensive phrase “n***** in the woodpile” during a meeting of eurosceptics in central London at Monday lunchtime.
Within hours of HuffPost UK publishing the recording, the Prime Minister was being grilled on Morris’s comments in Parliament, but only commented that people should use “appropriate language at all times”.
At just minutes before 6pm on Monday evening, a source to HuffPost UK confirmed the whip has been withdrawn from Morris - meaning she is no longer a Conservative MP.
In a statement, Theresa May said: “I was shocked to hear of these remarks, which are completely unacceptable.
“I immediately asked the Chief Whip to suspend the party whip.
“Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, Labour frontbencher Andrew Gwynne and Green MP Caroline Lucas all called for Morris to have the whip withdrawn - meaning she no longer sits as a Tory MP - within hours of HuffPost UK publishing the recording.
Conservative MP Heidi Allen also called for action to be taken, tweeting:
While the whip has been withdrawn, there has been no update on the timetable for the investigation into the comments, due to be carried out by the Conservative Party.
MPs without a party whip sit as independents in the Commons, and there is no time limit on how long this situation can last.
Morris, MP for Newton Abbot since 2010, made the astonishing remark while discussing what financial services deal the UK could strike with Brussels after 2019.
The comments came at the launch of a report into the future for the UK’s lucrative financial sector after Brexit on Monday lunchtime.
Despite using the racist term, none of her fellow panelists, including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, reacted.
After saying just 7% of financial services in the UK would be affected by Brexit, Morris said: “Now I’m sure there will be many people who’ll challenge that, but my response and my request is look at the detail, it isn’t all doom and gloom.
“Now we get to the real n****r in the woodpile which is in two years what happens if there is no deal?”
After HuffPost UK published her remarks, Morris said: “The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.”
The launch was held at the exclusive East India Club in St James Square, a few hundred yards from the Mall, and organised by the Politeia group - which describes itself as “A forum for social and economic thinking”.