Whip removed from Tory MP for 'unacceptable' joke

The Tory MP Ann Winterton has been expelled from the party's parliamentary party after refusing to apologise for a making a joke of the deaths of 20 Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe.

The Tory leader Michael Howard expelled Mrs Winterton, MP for Congleton in Cheshire since 1983, for her "completely unacceptable" joke which she made at a dinner held for visiting Danish officials last night. Mr Howard said that he deplored her remarks and apologised on behalf of his party.

The joke referred to the deaths of 20 Chinese migrants who drowned while picking cockles in Morecambe Bay earlier this month.

Mrs Winterton has said that the removal of the whip will not interfere with her determination to represent her constituents.

This is not the first time that the Congleton MP's humour has led to serious reprimand. She was dismissed as Shadow Minister of Agriculture in May 2002 after she told a "joke", again at a dinner, which had an Englishman throw a Pakistani from a train for "being 10 a penny in our country" as its punchline.

Ann Winterton was elected in 1983 as the Conservative and is married to Nicholas Winterton, the MP for Macclesfield. She was appointed Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Drugs Misuse Strategy in April 1998, and took on the Shadow Agriculture role in 2001.

She received the first ever Cheshire Life Woman of the Year in 1997.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 April 2004
Apologetic Tory MP regains party whip
The Tory MP who made a joke about the deaths of 20 Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned in Morecombe Bay last month has had the party whip restored. Opposition Chief Whip David MacLean announced today Ann Winterton would be readmitted after apologising "unreservedly" to Conservative leader Michael Howard for her comments.
23 October 2003
IDS vows to lead Tories into next election
Embattled Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith has pledged to fight on and lead the Conservative Party into the next election. At a press conference held today in the East Midlands, Mr Duncan Smith sought to focus on Tory party policy issues, while fielding questions from reporters about the speculation surrounding his future as Tory leader.
23 June 2003
Disarray in UUP as three MPs resign party whip
The resignation of three of the Ulster Unionist Party's MPs from the parliamentary whip earlier today was quickly follows by calls for party leader David Trimble to change party policy or resign.
07 November 2003
Michael Portillo to stand down at next election
Conservative MP Michael Portillo, long tipped as a potential party leader, has declared that he will not be seeking re-election to Westminster at the next election.
28 August 2014
Tory Clacton MP Defects To UKIP
Douglas Carswell has quit his seat as MP for Clacton and defected from the Conservative Party for UKIP. It is understood that Mr Douglas will now contest the Clacton seat for UKIP, which if he won would see him become the first UKIP MP in the Commons.