Racism Row over MP's Right Hand Woman

Slaughter demands apology over pictures of aide blacked-up

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Photographs of Conservative aide Emma Claire Pentreath, n employee of  Hammersmith and Fulham MP Greg Hands, have been condemned by neighbouring MP Andy Slaughter.

The Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush Labour MP said he ‘demanded an apology to all who will be rightly shocked and offended by these comments and images.’

Ms Pentreath, a constituency office researcher for Tory MP Greg Hands, was captioned as a n***er minstrel’ and pictured with her face ‘blacked up’ on the social networking site Facebook.

Philip Clarke, who worked as an aide to Parliament for the former Attorney General Lord Lyell, has been suspended from his job as a result of the photographs.

He posted the pictures of Ms Pentreath online along with the caption describing her as a "N***er Minstrel", among other racial slurs.

In a direct reference to Ann Winterton, the Tory MP sacked from the front bench after telling a racist joke, Mr Clarke wrote: "Emma's career in politics lies in tatters after she follows Ann Winterton's lead and dresses as a 'N***** Minstrel' for the Tory Black and White Ball."

The photographs, taken during a holiday in June, appeared on a network called "the Emma Claire Pentreath Appreciation Society".

Described as a "group for everyone to express their appreciation of the lovely Emma Claire Pentreath", the 23 mostly male members of the network included Miss Pentreath's boss, Greg Hands.

October 5, 2007