Political news

DUP leader Arlene Foster says Sammy Wilson ‘not a racist'

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson. Picture by Paul Faith, Press Association

DUP MP Sammy Wilson is "not a racist" and "that's an end to the matter", his party leader Arlene Foster has said.

The East Antrim MP was recorded by the BBC's Spotlight programme appearing to agree with a member of the public who said "Get the ethnics out".

During an exchange about the referendum on leaving the European Union, the man said: "I'd say get out of it. Between you and me get the ethnics out too."

Mr Wilson replied: "You are absolutely right, you know."

Alliance leader David Ford said Mr Wilson should be disciplined by his party, while SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said he should apologise.

However, Mr Wilson insisted he was only agreeing with the man's view about the EU and not the 'ethnics out' remark.

Mrs Foster said she had spoken to Mr Wilson on Tuesday afternoon.

"I think Sammy had been very clear he was not agreeing with the member of the public," she said.

"What he was agreeing with was the fact that he believes that we should come out of Europe and that was his assertion.

"Sammy's made his position very clear. I know Sammy very well. He's not a racist.

"He's far from it and therefore I think that's an end to the matter."

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