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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

UK politician who helped expose interracial sex grooming scandal given extra security

Sarah Champion is the representative for Rotherham, the town at the centre of a child grooming scandal

Labour MP Sarah Champion
Labour MP Sarah Champion

A British politician who was accused of racism for after calling out British Pakistani men who were sexually abusing white girls has been given increased security by police, according to a report.

Sarah Champion, the parliamentary representative for Rotherham, a town in northern England that became synonymous with a child exploitation scandal, faced criticism last year for writing an article titled: “British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls - it’s time we faced up to it.”

A report in The Times published on Wednesday said Ms Champion had been targeted by far-left activists as well as members of Rotherham’s Pakistani community hoping to force her out of office.

The MP’s comments were published in right-wing tabloid The Sun in August 2017 following the convictions of 17 men of Asian and Middle Eastern origin for their roles in a sex abuse ring in which more than 100 adolescent girls and young women were sexually exploited.

In a column, she wrote: "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.

"There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?"

She added that in grooming cases people were “shying away” from telling the truth for fear of being labelled racist.

The backlash led to Ms Champion resigning from her position as the shadow minister for Women and Equalities on the Labour Party’s frontbench. She later apologised for her “extremely poor choice of words”.

Police upped her security after Just Yorkshire, a Rotherham-based racial justice charity, released a report in March criticising Ms Champion’s “incendiary comments”, which led the MP to receive death threats, The Times said.

The newspaper added, citing friends of Ms Champion, that activists were lining up Taiba Yasseen, a Muslim member of the Labour-run local council, to replace her if she stood down or was deselected by her party.

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Read more:

British liberals struggle with racial aspect of sex rings, says Labour MP

UK Muslims face ‘extremist threat from the right’ as Islamophobia surges

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Nadeem Murtuja, chairman and acting director of Just Yorkshire, rejected any suggestion that his charity was trying to oust Ms Champion as “completely wide of the mark”.

While Ms Yasseen, a member of the Labour Party’s far-left Momentum movement, described the former shadow cabinet minister as “one of the best things to happen to our town”.

She said: "Sarah and I are friends and colleagues. I fully support her and the important work she does."

Ms Champion’s office said the MP was aware of the report but declined to comment.

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