Sarah Champion resigns from Labour shadow cabinet over Pakistani rapists column in The Sun

Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporter

A Labour MP has resigned from the shadow cabinet after saying Britain has "a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls".

Sarah Champion, shadow women and equalities minister, apologised for the "extremely poor choice of words" which appeared in a column in The Sun newspaper on Friday.

The MP for Rotherham's piece was headlined: "British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls... and it's time we faced up to it."

Her remarks came just days after 18 people were convicted or admitted offences in a series of court hearings related to child sexual exploitation in Newcastle.

Ms Champion wrote: "Britain has a problem with British-Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.

"There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?

"For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up.

"No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage."

In stepping down, she said she was doing so "with regret".

Jeremy Corbyn said he accepted her resignation but added: "I look forward to working together in the future."

Ms Chapman said: "I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in The Sun article on Friday.

"I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection, which I have campaigned on my entire political career.

"It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities."

After the column was published, Ms Champion sought to distance herself from the article, saying it had been altered.

But a spokeswoman for The Sun said: "Sarah Champion's column, as it appeared on Friday, was approved by her team, and her adviser twice contacted us thereafter to say she was 'thrilled' with the piece and it 'looked great'.

"Indeed, her only objection after the article appeared was her belief that her picture byline looked unflattering. Her office submitted five new pictures for further use."