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Saturday, 3 January, 1998, 02:01 GMT
Writer reported over "ugly little trolls" Welsh jibe
Descriptions of the Welsh as "dark, ugly little trolls" in The Sunday Times have been reported to the Commission for Racial Equality.

The columnist AA Gill, who has made no effort to hide his dislike for the Welsh, could face a referral to the Press Complaints Commission over the remarks.

But he hit back, saying he could not care less about the report, and adding that Welsh people said terrible things about the English without anyone complaining about it.

Section 13 of the PCC's Code of Conduct says the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person's race.

Ray Singh, the CRE's Welsh Commissioner, took action after being inundated with letters and phone calls protesting about Mr Gill's comments.

'Immoral liars

Mr Singh said the complaints had flowed into his office in Cardiff after Mr Gill wrote a column two months ago saying the Welsh were "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls".

It is not the first remarks he has made about Wales. He once described Rhyl as "a town only a man driving a crane with a demolition ball would visit with a smile".

And he hit out at Welsh cooking, saying: "You can easily travel from Cardiff to Anglesey without ever stimulating a taste bud".

In his last column before Christmas he wished his readers a Happy Christmas - "except, of course, the Welsh".

Mr Singh said: "We were inundated with letters and telephone calls from people angry at what Mr Gill had written. I have prepared a file containing anti-Welsh material and decided to send it to our litigation department to see what action could be taken".

'Terrible things'

Although the CRE has no powers to bring a prosecution, it may decide to issue a statement to the Press Complaints Commission condemning the comments.

Mr Gill said: "The whole thing is absurd. I couldn't be less bothered about the Commission. I believe in freedom of speech and shall not be intimidated.

"The Welsh say terrible things about the English but nothing is said about that".

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