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MP Diane in `race' rant at white nurses.

Black MP Diane Abbott was branded a racist yesterday after she slammed a hospital for hiring "blonde, blue-eyed" white nurses.

The Labour MP said Finnish nurses taken on because of staff shortages may "never have met a black person before, let alone touched one".

And she added: "The hospital should have taken on Caribbean staff - they know the language, British culture and institutions.

"The Finnish nurses are basically here to improve their English and are unlikely to give the Health Service a lifetime's commitment."

The MP for Hackney, north-east London, asked if Scandinavians working at Homerton Hospital were "best suited to nurse in the multicultural borough".

The secretary of the all-party Finland group of MPs, Tory Ian Bruce, said: "I have never heard such racist rubbish from an MP in recent years.

"It shows complete ignorance. She is using racial stereotypes not wholly appropriate.

"Most Finnish girls are dark-haired, not blonde with blue eyes.

"She must be thinking of Swedes or Germans."

He added: "All Scandinavian countries have people from African and Caribbean countries living there.

"It shows ignorance to make such remarks."

And the Royal College of Nursing said The MP's comments only served to "set nurse against nurse".

Ms Abbott insisted last night she was not racist.

She said: "My argument is not that they shouldn't employ white nurses, but they should employ local people."

The MP had said in the Hackney Gazette that black nurses, hit by racism and lack of career development, were the first to lose their jobs.

A senior nurse at the Homerton said the Finnish recruitment programme has been "extremely successful."

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Article Details
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Author:Morris, Nigel; Palmer, Jill
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 28, 1996
Words:271
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