Unionist’s bigotry draws international attention

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John Taylor, the former Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has made headlines around the world after describing US vice president-elect Kamala Harris as “the Indian”.

No official sanction has been announced for the former Ulster Unionist Party deputy leader over his tweet about Ms Harris, who is the first black and Asian-American person to be elected to the role.

Taylor, from Armagh, now sits in the House of Lords at Westminster where he styles himself as ‘Baron Kilclooney’ and ‘Lord Kilclooney’. On Monday, he tweeted: “What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?”

The peer has previously denied being racist after calling Leo Varadkar, who was then Taoiseach, a “typical Indian”. In 2018, Taylor tweeted the slur as Mr Varadkar’s father was visiting from India.

Amid widespread condemnation, the former UUP member, now 82, insisted he was “certainly no racist” and that he has “an admiration for Indians”.

No stranger to controversy in the past, Taylor has previously claimed one in every three Catholics is “either a supporter of murder or, worse still, a murderer”. He also said he understood why Gaelic sports was a legitimate target for loyalist paramilitaries.

He said “it may be necessary to shoot even more” after the British army shot and killed two innocent Catholics in 1971.

And he once told a rally: “We should make it clear that force means death and fighting, and whoever gets in our way, whether republicans or those sent by the British government, there would be killings.”

Taylor has denied any bigotry in his latest comments and insisted he has “nothing to be ashamed about”. He said he had “two tenants” who were Indian and they were “reliable people”.

The House of Lords’ ‘Commissioner for Standards’ confirmed on Friday that Taylor won’t be censured over the tweet. The standards watchdog, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, said the comments on Twitter “do not include a parliamentary dimension”.

“Therefore, in this instance, Lord Kilclooney’s conduct on Twitter does not fall within the scope of the code and it is outside my power to investigate.”

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