'Anti-Irish' Boris Johnson deputy accused of racism over Persil joke
Published 15/09/2011 | 13:09
THE DEPUTY lord mayor of London, Richard Barnes, has been accused of racism following a joke he made about the recent London riots.
Mr Barnes is reputed to have been overheard saying "Why did police put Persil in the water cannons? To stop the colours running?"
A City Hall worker has made a complaint to the Greater London Authority’s standards committee. It will now investigate the alleged remarks, which were said have been made last month.
The openly gay Mr Barnes is no stranger to controversy. In July, when he was asked about the cost of redevelopment work at Euston station he was filmed asking: "Are they like most Irish builders saying it's going to be roughly that? [licking his finger to check the wind direction]. Are we working on estimates?"
After his comments drew criticism, Mr Barnes was forced to issue an apology. “This was a throwaway line and no offence was intended. As someone who recognises the contribution of Irish people to London life and has a lot of Irish friends it was not my intention to impugn anyone. I apologise for any offence that might have been caused.”