SNP mug stunt labelled ‘crass political jibe steeped in Sinophobia and misogyny'
The SNP has been accused of making “crass political jibes steeped in Sinophobia and misogyny” after it handed out mugs comparing Labour welfare policy to China.
Labour’s Sarah Owen, the first MP of south-east Asian descent, took aim at SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn for the mugs and accompanying notes handed to journalists in Westminster.
Photos posted on social media showed a note, on House of Commons paper from Mr Flynn, reading: “The Labour Party has a new range of mugs in production. They’re made in China – just like Sir Keir Starmer’s latest policy.”
The slogans “Controls on family sizes” and “What’s the point of Labour?” were written on the mug.
Mr Flynn used Prime Minister’s Questions to criticise the Opposition for its plan to maintain the two-child benefit cap, which prevents parents from claiming Universal Credit or child tax credit for a third or additional child born after April 2017.
China’s one-child policy, implemented nationwide in 1980, sought to limit most Chinese families to one child each to limit population growth. It ended in 2016.
Ms Owen, raising a point of order in the Commons, told Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing: “Earlier this morning a note on parliamentary headed notepaper and mug was sent to the press lobby from the SNP leader in Westminster referring to China’s one-child policy.
“This was not what I came to Parliament to do but sadly I’ve become used to calling out Sinophobia and misogyny in this place and would be grateful for your guidance.
“Official statistics confirm that as a result of the one-child policy there were 196 million sterilisations, 336 million abortions, all under China’s one-child policy.
“It was a policy that broke families, led to infanticide, mostly baby girls – in 2017, there were still 33 million more men than there were women in China.
“When can our diverse communities expect better from Members of Parliament, especially in understanding the history and trauma of other countries?
“Madam Deputy Speaker, is it really appropriate for the SNP leader in Westminster to use parliamentary stationery to make crass political jibes steeped in Sinophobia and misogyny?
“Shouldn’t we expect better, especially the south-east Asian community, on this issue?”
SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, also made a point of order to ask Dame Eleanor: “Maybe you can clarify two points for me.
“Whether or not the British Labour Party is more rattled by a minor breach of the rules than they are by child poverty?
“And also, in terms of quotes, I believe in 2018 the following was said: ‘The cap reminds me of communist China’s morally abhorrent one-child policy. Now even the Chinese have abolished that, perhaps the Tories can bring themselves to follow China’s example and abolish the two-child cap.’
“The deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party (Jackie Baillie) said that.
“So maybe in answering these two questions maybe we can find the member for Luton North (Ms Owen) the telephone number for Labour’s sub-branch office in Glasgow.”
Dame Eleanor, in her reply, said: “I would urge responsible language in this House and by members outside this House.”
The Deputy Speaker advised Ms Owen to write to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle if she had concerns over how parliamentary stationery has been used.