House of Lords standards commissioner dismisses complaint against Lord Kilclooney over 'Indian' tweet

Lord Kilclooney said his tweet was 'not racist'

A COMPLAINT against cross-bench peer John Taylor for calling Taoiseach Leo Varadkar an "Indian" has been dismissed by the House of Lords standards commissioner.

The former Stormont minister, now known as Lord Kilclooney, made the controversial remark on Twitter last month.

He tweeted: "Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian."

The Fine Gael leader was born in Ireland to an Indian father and Irish mother.

Lord Kilclooney subsequently said that he was unsure of how to spell Mr Varadkar's name and had used the word Indian as "shorthand".

He later withdrew the tweet and admitted he had "caused upset and misunderstanding". He insisted it was "not racist".

A complaint was made by the former Northern Ireland victims' commissioner Patricia MacBride.

Sinn Féin and Alliance said the former Ulster Unionist's tweet was "racist".

But the House of Lords standards commissioner said it did not breach the code of conduct.

"The commissioner considered the complaint as part of an initial assessment but dismissed it without opening a formal investigation on the basis that a member's opinion, or the way they express themselves, does not fall within the scope of the code," a spokesman for the commissioner said.

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