A Scottish politician accused of using an “ignorant racial slur” has apologised.
SNP MP John Nicolson said on Thursday in a now-deleted tweet that politicians who apply their own make up look “overly brown” and “tandoori” themselves.
The comments provoked backlash from Conservative MSP Pam Gosal, who accused the representative for Ochil and South Perthshire of promoting an “offensive stereotype”.
Tweeting before his appearance on BBC Scotland’s Debate Night, Nicolson said: “Now, I know what you’re thinking. John Nicolson doesn’t need make up. But for TV cameras and TV lights you do sometimes. Actually, you do always.
“If politicians put on their own make up themselves, I’m right in saying they go a bit overly brown, so they tandoori themselves. That’s why you need a professional make up person.”
The politician used the same phrase in the Twitter caption, writing: “Politicians that do their own make up tend to ‘tandoori’ themselves.
“Thankfully I’ve a professional on hand to help for Debate Night.”
Gosal urged Nicolson to say sorry for the comments which she said showed a “complete lack of respect for the BAME community and disregard for the racism that our community faces every single day”.
She said: “I can’t believe John Nicolson thought this ignorant racial slur was remotely appropriate.
“To use the term ‘tandoori’ in relation to brown skin colour is grossly offensive. The subtext is clear: brown people eat curry.
“It’s an offensive stereotype that I’d hoped we’d left behind in the 1970s, yet here we have a supposedly ‘progressive’ politician using it in 2023.
“John Nicolson needs to apologise for his lazy and crude pigeonholing and remove this crass tweet.”
On Friday, Nicolson said he had no intention of causing offence but apologised to those who felt hurt by his comments.
The SNP MP said: “A number of newspapers are running online pieces about a light hearted comment I made the other night before I went on to ‘Debate Night’.
“I’d really no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. My apologies to those who felt hurt.”
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