Tory MP hints at blacking up in bizarre defence of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Desmond Swayne
Desmond Swayne
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A veteran Tory MP has hinted that he wore blackface, while describing the practice widely criticised as a racist caricature as an "entirely acceptable bit of fun".

Sir Desmond Swayne made the comment as he sought to defend Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, whose re-election campaign was near-derailed by disclosures that he had darkened his skin.

Justin Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau.

The former minister suggested he "went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible" when posing as soul singer James Brown at a fancy dress party.

READ MORE: Canadian Prime Minister admits 'stupid' brownface incident

Sir Desmond was swiftly criticised by Labour, who called on the Tories to take action against the New Forest West MP.

He wrote in a blog post this week that Mr Trudeau should not have apologised for the incidents, which Mr Trudeau admitted he now considers racist.

"He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise," the Tory wrote.

"I once went to a Blues Brothers themed fancy-dress party as James Brown. I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible.

READ MORE: Tory MP suspended after racism row

"I can assure readers of this column that I have no intention of apologising."

Shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler said: "This is another example of a politician not even trying to understand the history of oppression and racism.

"Desmond Swayne has not only admitted to blacking up himself, but is now actively encouraging others to do so.

"The Tories need to explain what action will be taken against him and whether this took place while he was a government minister."

Sir Desmond was knighted by David Cameron in 2016 and held the post of minister of state in the Department for International Development.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said he had not seen Sir Desmond's comments.