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.

She made her joke at a dinner hosted by cross-party MPs in honour of Danish representatives on February 24. The Tory leader immediately expelled Mrs Winterton for her "completely unacceptable" joke.

In a letter to Tory leader Michael Howard, the MP for Congleton, said that media coverage of her remarks were not only "inaccurate" but reported "entirely out of context".

She added: "However, I apologise unreservedly for repeating in private conversation an offensive email circulating on the web. I now realise that unintentionally I caused the Chinese community distress and offence, and embarrassment for the Conservative Party; all of which I deeply regret.”

In a letter of reply to Lady Winterton, Mr MacLean said: “I have seen your letter to Michael of today’s date containing your unreserved apology, and in these circumstances I have restored the Whip to you with immediate effect.”


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