A Conservative minister has been accused of “ignorance and bigotry” after mocking a German food chain for selling doner kebabs in the UK – apparently not realising that the popular dish was actually invented in Germany.
Greg Hands, the minister for international trade, used his official Twitter account to make the jibe about German Doner Kebabs, an international kebab shop chain that first opened in Berlin in 1989 but now has more than 20 stores in the UK.
Posting an image of the company’s store in his Chelsea and Fulham constituency, Mr Hands wrote: “How long before we have German fish and chips?”
How long before we have German Fish & Chips? pic.twitter.com/8OmvAytgJQ— Greg Hands (@GregHands) October 23, 2017
Twitter users rushed to criticise the post, with one accusing the MP of displaying “ignorance and bigotry in one short tweet”.
Others slammed the international trade minister for taking aim at a foreign company operating in Britain, particularly at a time when the Government is desperately trying to promote the UK as a trading destination after Brexit.
As criticism mounted, Mr Hands posted another message saying: “This tweet this morning has kept literally thousands of Lefties occupied, seeking a wider putative meaning!”
The initial tweet had received 577 comments at the time of Mr Hands’ second post.
This tweet this morning has kept literally thousands of Lefties occupied, seeking a wider putative meaning! https://t.co/meROGhgWpU— Greg Hands (@GregHands) October 23, 2017
The doner kebab is believed to have been invented by Kadir Nurman, a Turkish immigrant living in Germany, in 1972. Mr Nurman, who died in 2013, said he got the idea after noticing that German workers had little time to sit down for lunch.
Several other Turkish immigrants in Germany have disputed this, claiming they were selling versions of the doner earlier than Mr Nurman.
However, the national original of the dish is not in doubt. “The doner is German,” Tarkan Tasumruk, chairman of the Association of Turkish Doner Producers in Europe, told the berlin.de website.
Responding to Mr Hands’ tweet, other social media users pointed out that, while fish and chips has become known as a traditional British dish, many people claim it was actually introduced to the UK by Jewish immigrants from other European countries.
Fried fish was brought to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain, and the first combined fish and chip shop is said to have been opened by Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant in the East End, in the 1860s.