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Andrew Edwards, a conservative member on Pembrokeshire County’s Council in Wales, is out of a job after reportedly endorsing slavery.
On a recording released online, Edwards allegedly says “all white men should have a Black [person] as a slave.” Edwards reportedly continued his racist rant, saying “there’s nothing wrong with skin color at all”, but argues Black Brits “are a lower class than us white people.”
The recording sparked outrage across the UK, with the Conservative Party taking swift measures to suspend Edwards from the party.
A spokesperson for the council refused to comment except to say the matter is under investigation.
Edwards isn’t the only Conservative Party member to be suspended recently. Andrew McBride, a candidate for a council seat in the town of Bracknell, was dumped by the party after allegations of racism came to light.
According to The Mirror, McBride has a history of racist tweets against Meghan Markle and the British Muslim community. He was also a leader in a far-right British nationalist party before joining the conservative Tory party.
Nearly two centuries after Britain abolished enslavement, racism against Black British citizens remains “systemic”
More than three million Black residents call Britain home. That number, however, only accounts for 3% of the total population. A 2015 study by the British Social Attitudes Society found that nearly one-third of respondents admitted to being racially prejudice.
Prior to 1833, historical data shows that more than 46,000 White men and women engaged in enslavement. At the time slavery was abolished, more than 800,000 people were enslaved across the island.
Beginning in 1834, the year after abolition, £20 million was set aside as compensation to enslavers across Britain. According to The Guardian, that massive payout totaled nearly 40% of the nation’s entire budget at the time. Today, that amount would equal nearly £2 billion.
The comments of political leaders like Edwards and McBride deepen longstanding wounds of racism in Britain.
Experts at the United Nations warned just this year that racism against British people of African Descent is “structural, institutional and systemic.”
“Racialised acts targeting people of African descent have remained steadfast,” UN Working Group said in a statement. “The experience is similar across different parts of the UK.”
“They are victimized and have no assurance of effective redress from authorities or the justice system.”
The next national election in Britain is not scheduled until 2025. Conservative party leaders, however, have already made clear McBride and Edwards will not be on any ballot.