Momentum founder Jon Lansman accused of 'whitewashing' as he appears to forget British Chinese Tory MP Alan Mak

Written by John Johnston on 6 November 2019 in Diary

Momentum founder Jon Lansman forgets about Tory Alan Mak as he suggests Labour candidate could become 'first British Chinese MP'.

Labour heavyweight Jon Lansman said Luton North candidate Sarah Owen "well deserves" to become the first British-Chinese MP despite the title being held by Conservative Alan Mak since 2015.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Lansman said: "I’m delighted that my friend & comrade, Sarah Owen, GMB rep on the NEC, has been selected as the candidate for Luton North. Always a strong advocate for MPs to reflect the diversity of the population, she well deserves to be the 1st British Chinese MP."

But Mr Mak, who is seeking re-election to his Hampshire seat of Havant in December, was quick to remind Mr Lansman of his position as the first MP of Chinese origin, tweeting two waving emojis in reply to the comments.

Responding to the comments, Mr Mak told Total Politics: “I am proud to have been elected as the first MP of British Chinese origin in 2015, and I very much hope to be re-elected on 12 December."

Born in York, the former solicitor's parents come from the Southern Chinese province of Guangdon, but Mr Mak has repeatedly hit out at suggestions his victory would help improve diversity in the Commons.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post in 2015, he said: "If the Conservative Friends of the Chinese and Chinese for Laour think I am going to be representing every Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean - and there are many in my constituency - they are mistaken. 

"It's a stupid story. I am not standing for the Chinese population of Britain. I am standing for the people of Havant and my country."

But Mr Lansman's gaffe also drew criticism from fellow Conservative candidate Nusrat Ghani, who responded: "Typical Labour whitewash. Mr Lansman, sorry to burst your bubble but you ain't going to make history... we Conservatives did with Alan Mak. #raiseyourgaze #unlockingyourpotential."

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