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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Ann Winterton surrenders 

To those who say that we should support Ann Winterton, even after she has been allowed to rejoin the parliamentary Conservative Party I would say the point here is that Mrs Winterton told the joke at a private function and as "caught out" (as the PC lobby would have it) by a Labour MP. Having been denounced and thrown out of the parliamentary party she initially stood firm and insisted she had done nothing wrong.

Ann Winterton should have either:

a) Given an immediate unreserved apology to the "Chinese Community", begging to be re-instated as part of Michael Howard's new PC Tories, and then perform an about turn worthy of John Bercow....

or

b) Stood firm and taken the flak, remaining outside the Conservative Party, and providing an independent voice for the real conservatives in the country.

Mrs Winterton could then have acted as a rallying point for ordinary people who are sick and tired of political correctness. She could have done for opposing PC what Enoch Powell did for opposing immigration, and Sir James Goldsmith for opposing the Euro. It would have bought us more time, and highlighted the issue. This was a golden opportunity for someone fairly well known to start a movement in the right direction.

We all knew that this was coming however, as the "Euro Rebels" made a stand only to back down in order to regain the whip, having gain no concessions and no change in party policy (the Tories did not make a pledge to repeal the Maastricht Treaty).

What Ann Winterton has done is make it worse for everyone by bowing to pressure and regaining the whip, without any concessions from her party. The message is "no-one can win against PC. Everyone has to back down eventually." This is how fatalism sets in, and how totalitarianism is born.

I repeat: Every climbdown is a victory for the enemies of free
speech.

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Original Story: Tories restore whip to 'sick joke' MP

Tories have restored the party whip to Ann Winterton after she
"unreservedly" apologised for a sick joke.
The Congleton MP was suspended after joking about the drowning of 20 Chinese cockle-pickers at Morecambe Bay last month. In a letter to leader Michael Howard, she said: "I apologise unreservedly for repeating in private conversation an offensive e-mail circulating on the web. "I now realise that unintentionally I caused the Chinese community distress and offence, and embarrassment for the Conservative Party, all of which I deeply regret."

Chief whip David MacLean told the MP in a letter: "In these circumstances, I have restored the Whip to you with immediate effect." Lady Winterton insisted she had nothing to apologise for when her remarks at a private dinner with industry chiefs were revealed by a Labour MP. And in her letter to Mr Howard she said: "I have explained to Parliamentary colleagues that ensuing media coverage was not only inaccurate, but reported entirely out of context and that explanation was welcomed."

Backbenchers were said to have protested about her treatment at their
weekly meeting.

(News reported from Ananova)





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