Labour MP describes Pfizer as “rapists” and refuses to apologise

Labour MP Austin Mitchell has rebuffed calls to resign after he compared the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to “rapists”, in relation to the firm’s Astra Zenica takeover bid.

Mitchell incited outrage after a bizarre post on Twitter yesterday, in which he wrote: “Cameron dare not stop Pfizer because he dare not offend the US in any way. Roll up rapists.”

The tweet prompted Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, the minister for women, to call on Ed Miliband to suspend Mitchell, who has been an MP since 1977.

 

In the letter to Miliband, Morgan wrote: “People across the whole country will be appalled that anybody would try to link a proposed corporate takeover with the horrific crime of rape. I am sure you will agree with me that such a comparison is deeply offensive as it trivialises sex attacks and the horrific and traumatising effects such attacks can have on victims.

“I am clear that these comments are totally unacceptable and that Austin Mitchell must withdraw what he has written immediately and issue a full, unreserved apology.

“As the leader of the Labour party I look forward to hearing what action you intend to take in response to this totally unacceptable behaviour.”

Mitchell has not formally apologised, but wrote a follow-up tweet which read: “Naughty me. Substute [sic] rapaciousness before any more Physer [sic] defenders weigh in.”

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Mitchell said he had no regrets about using the word “rapists”, which clashes with a statement put out by the Labour Party which said the MP had “apologised for an obvious error of judgement”.

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