A LABOUR Party MP has revealed the shocking anti-Irish racist abuse he received after he was pictured with a Celtic shirt and Irish flags.
Richard Burgon, the Shadow Justice Secretary and Member of Parliament for Leeds East, was called a “retarded Irish piece of s**t” and “Irish scum” in a torrent of anonymous emails.
The vile messages were sent after the Mail on Sunday ran a picture of Mr Burgon at a St Patrick’s Day party wearing a Celtic shirt.
The article, which Mr Burgon has condemned as a “smear”, criticised the MP for his relationship with his partner Shelly Asquith.
The paper alleged that Ms Asquith, vice-president of welfare for the National Union of Students (NUS), “believes that religious extremists should have the right to break the law.”
After the article was published on Sunday, Mr Burgon, who has Mayo roots, quickly received a number of racist emails.
One read: “Why do you live in England if you hate England? You ugly, retarded Irish piece of s**t. I see you would rather fly the evil Irish flag than the English or British flags. You have no future in England you anti-English scum. I hope you die from cancer you ugly Irish piece of s**t.”
Another read: “I see why you hate the English monarchy you ugly, retarded Irish spastic. Why do you live in England if you hate England? Why don’t you go and live in Eire with your fellow Irish scum?”
Speaking to The Irish Post, Richard Burgon said the shocking emails shows that anti-Irish sentiment continues to exist “beneath the surface” in Britain.
“What I think this reveals that there is still sadly prejudices against people of Irish descent living in Britain and people from Ireland,” he said.
“These things aren’t said openly by people anymore but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.”
Mr Burgon’s great-grandparents moved to East Leeds from Co. Mayo around a century ago looking for work.
The 36-year-old MP was also the subject of a recent article in The Sun, which ran with the “revelation” that Mr Burgon played in a heavy metal band which allegedly uses a font associated with the SS in their logo.
The article accused Mr Burgon and the band, known as Dream Tröll, of “delighting in Nazi symbols.”
But a number of social media users were quick to point out that the letters were instead taken from a Black Sabbath album and had even been used by legendary American band Kiss.
Mr Burgon said the two articles, published by the Mail on Sunday and The Sun, were directed at him due to his public support for Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour leader yesterday welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of an early general election on June 8, saying that Labour would offer an “effective alternative” to the Conservative government.
Mr Burgon said that the early election presents people across the country with an opportunity to “send a message” to Westminster.
“This Government has made living standards across the UK worse and I think Labour’s positive policy agenda going into June 8 ought to really appeal to them,” he said.
“We want to make our positive policies very clear, such as the £10 an hour minimum wage, a 17 per cent increase to the Carer’s Allowance and free school meals for all primary school pupils paid for by introducing VAT on private school fees.”
The Shadow Justice Minister also attacked PM Theresa May for refusing to engage in televised debates on the upcoming campaign trail.
“She must think she will do badly in them,” he said. “But you can’t have it all your own way in politics and I think her refusal could turn people off.”