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Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne says voters have the right to elect misogynists and racists

A former Conservative minister who once wore blackface at a fancy dress party has said that the British public have a right to elect misogynists and racists if they so please.   

Sir Desmond Swayne said he hoped his constituents would not choose people with such views, but raised concerns over proposed standards reforms for MPs.

The Committee on Standards has suggested MPs should abide by the parliamentary behaviour code and 'demonstrate anti-discriminatory attitudes and behaviours through the promotion of anti-racism, inclusion and diversity'.

Sir Desmond, MP for New Forest West, refused to apologise in October after a picture emerged of him dressing up as the soul legend James Brown, which shows him with a painted face.

After he was shown a picture from the party, he said he could not deny he was the man in the photo, confirming the woman pictured is his wife. 

Today, he told the Commons: 'The principle of democracy is undermined by the requirement that we may be required to subscribe to behaviours to promote certain attitudes. 

'I hope that my constituents never elect a racist or a misogynist, but they have a right to do so.'

Sir Desmond, MP for New Forest West, told the Commons: 'The principle of democracy is undermined by the requirement that we may be required to subscribe to behaviours to promote certain attitudes'

Mr Swayne said, in October, that this picture shows his wife and that he can't deny the man on the left is him

He also said:  'A debate would be very helpful in Government time because some of the aspects of the report, such as the potential extension of the jurisdiction of an official into what happens in the lobbies and in select committees, touches on the principles of the Bill of Rights that no proceeding in Parliament be questioned in any place or any court other than Parliament itself.'

The recommendations from the Committee on Standards also include a new requirement for MPs to have a written contract for any outside work, explicitly stating that their duties cannot include lobbying ministers, fellow MPs or public officials.

It is also proposed that rules are tightened to prevent MPs claiming they were acting to prevent a 'serious wrong' as a loophole for lobbying.

Sir Desmond, a former Minister of State for International Development under David Cameron and Theresa May, had earlier this year sparked fury after he told vaccine sceptics to 'persist' with their campaign against lockdown restrictions.

The New Forest West MP later clarified he was unaware of the movement's position on jabs and stressed that he is 'evangelical' in his support for the vaccination programme, pointing out that he is on record in the House of Commons criticising the way in which the Government has presented data.

The 64-year-old posted a picture on Twitter of him getting the jab from a nurse while wearing jogging bottoms and a t-shirt

Sir Desmond appeared to prove his evangelism in March this year when he was pictured receiving his Covid jab.

He wrote on Twitter: 'I've just had my jab: make sure you can get yours, so that we can all get back to normal life.'

Sir Desmond told MailOnline he had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at St Thomas's Hospital in central London.