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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Race row councillor resigns
Iain Duncan Smith, Tory leader
Duncan Smith sacked frontbencher over racist joke
The Tory councillor behind an article which claimed black people were "less bright" than whites has resigned, according to party sources.

Geoffrey Sampson was asked to leave his post at Wealden District Council, East Sussex, after publishing the piece, 'There's Nothing Wrong with Racism', on his website.

In it the Sussex University professor described multiculturalism as "wicked madness" and said racism was "natural".

Professor Sampson's comments heaped pressure on Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to take action, days after frontbencher Ann Winterton was sacked for telling a racist joke.


We believe that the outcome is in the best interests of all concerned

Conservative Party spokesman
Professor Sampson was asked to resign by the leader of Wealden Council's Conservative group, Rupert Thornely-Taylor, on Monday night.

Mr Thornely-Taylor said: "I have asked for and received Cllr Sampson's resignation."

A spokesman at Conservative Central Office said: "We are pleased that this matter has been resolved. We believe that the outcome is in the best interests of all concerned.

"As Iain Duncan Smith has made clear on many occasions, the Conservative Party is opposed to all forms of racial discrimination."

'Awkward'

Earlier on Monday Professor Sampson said he would stand by his views, even if they meant expulsion from the party.

Ann Winterton
Ann Winterton was sacked after telling a racist joke

Talking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme he said: "What I have said is that feelings of at least mild preference for one's own race are a normal universal part of human nature which are built into us by the same processes of biological evolution that build into us attraction to the opposite sex."

Professor Sampson said he did not believe his views were controversial, claiming they were "well established".

Asked whether he stood by his views even if it meant expulsion from the Conservative Party, he said: "I am a professional academic, it's not part of the academic profession to believe things are true but to refrain from saying them because they are rather awkward."

'Race card'

Professor Sampson's comments led to demands for his expulsion from the Conservative Party by Labour minister Peter Hain and local Liberal Democrats.

Mr Hain, speaking on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme, said: "I think Iain Duncan Smith should expel him from the party, and anybody like him, because there are many in the Conservative ranks who clearly are racists and proud to be so."

A Conservative Party spokesman claimed Mr Hain's remarks were aimed at distracting attention away from the controversy over the latest row over donations to Labour.

The spokesman added: "Whenever Labour is in trouble they play the race card."

See also:

13 May 02 | UK Politics
Race row councillor defies critics
09 May 02 | UK Politics
Right-wing Tories cry betrayal
18 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Tories suspend link with Monday Club
05 May 02 | UK Politics
Tory leader defends 'tolerant' party
05 May 02 | UK Politics
Senior Tory sacked over racist joke
11 Oct 01 | UK Politics
No witch-hunt for extremists, says Tory
07 Oct 01 | Conservatives
Tory MPs quit far-right Monday Club
28 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Duncan Smith denies extremist support
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