Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been criticised for “mixing up people of colour” after she appeared to confuse two different British-Asian women.
The Tory politician tweeted a dismissive comment about Novara Media editor Ash Sarkar, alongside a video clip of the left-wing commentator discussing Venezuela on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.
But Ms Dorries referred to her as the “prospective candidate for Chingford”, when the Labour Party’s prospective candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green is actually Faiza Shaheen.
The error was widely mocked, including by senior Tory Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who tweeted: “No @AyoCaesar and @faizashaheen are two different people Nadine. Honestly not all brown women look the same.”
The MP later apologised, saying she was “really sorry if it caused any offence” and explaining that the mistake was down to similarity in the pair’s accents.
Ms Sarkar spoke to The Independent and said she and Ms Dorries had actually met in person in recent months, when the pair both appeared on a TV show.
“It’s racist and Nadine Dorries has a long track record of mixing up people of colour who she doesn’t like,” she said. “This seems to be the case, in particular, for people of colour in the public eye who she perceives as uppity.”
She added: “It’s no surprise she doesn’t feel obliged to apologise, given the party’s repeated inaction when we’ve seen similar incidents in the past. Racism is endemic in the Tory party. Hopefully what this will do is encourage progressives to vote them out in future elections.”
Ms Shaheen also addressed the incident on Monday, tweeting: “FYI @NadineDorries I’m Faiza Shaheen, the woman that will kick out IDS [Iain Duncan Smith] at the next general election. And unlike you, my old school friends, teachers and neighbours in Chingford & Woodford Green can tell the difference between me and other brown women.”
The Chingford and Woodford Green candidate also tweeted a photo of her and Ms Sarkar together to show just how dissimilar they look.