Yorkshire MP Angela Smith apologises after becoming embroiled in race row hours after quitting Labour

A Yorkshire MP who walked out of the Labour Party has apologised after appearing to describe black people as having a "funny" tint or tinge.

Monday, 18th February 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 5:17 pm
Angela Smith poses with the six other MPs who announced today they are quitting Labour

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith said she was "very sorry" for any offence caused after she "misspoke" during a television interview.

Appearing on the BBC's Politics Live programme, Ms Smith said: "It is not just about being black or a funny tin ... you know, different - from the BME community."

Following the broadcast, Ms Smith said in a video posted on her Twitter feed: "I am very sorry about any offence caused and I am very upset that I misspoke so badly.

"It is not what I am. I am committed to fighting racism wherever I find it in our society."

Seven MPs including Yorkshire's Angela Smith quit Labour to form independent groupMs Smith was one of seven MPs to announce they were leaving Labour to form the new Independent Group, citing - among other issues - Jeremy Corbyn's handling of allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.

The 57-year-old MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire was first elected in May 2005 for Sheffield, Hillsborough. She won the 2017 general election contest with a 1,322 majority.

Last month Mr Corbyn was criticised after he appeared to refuse to give way to Ms Smith during his Commons Brexit statement, which she suggested happened because she supports a second referendum.

Over the years, the veteran MP has formed part of a number of parliamentary select committees, including transport and environment, food and rural affairs.

In her statement as the Labour Party split was announced, highly critical of Mr Corbyn, Ms Smith said since his election as leader in 2015 there has been a change in the Labour Party that has "destroyed the proud legacy built by our predecessors".

She also revealed that by the age of five she knew her voting intention, but that the current Labour Party is "characterised by lazy, populist thinking".

Mrs Smith was born in 1961 and spent her early years in Grimsby and her father was a printer and former fisherman.

After studying at night school for her A Levels, she attended Nottingham University and moved to Sheffield, where she became a lecturer at Dearne Valley College teaching English to post 16-year-olds until leaving in 2003.

In November, she become the latest Labour MP to have a motion of no confidence in her passed by her local constituency party.

Local Labour members in Penistone and Stocksbridge voted 27 to 20 in a general committee (GC) meeting to express no confidence in their MP. Smith later called them a “a cabal of hard left members” and accused the CLP of “internal political posturing”.