A former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist party and member of the House of Lords, Lord Kilclooney, has sparked a lot of controversy over his tweet referring to the U.S. vice-president elect Kamala Harris as “the Indian” in a tweet. The 82-year-old peer was widely criticized after tweeting: “What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?”
Several Lord’s members including The Speaker of the Lords, Norman Fowler who demanded a retraction, and Laboure’s Lords leader, Angela Smith who said, “It is despicable and beneath contempt and totally unacceptable from anyone,” have called for Lord Kilclooney to apologize after referring to the U.S. vice-president elect as “the Indian.” Smith said she would be making an official complaint.
When challenged Kilclooney, who sits as a crossbench peer, claimed he had not “known her name yet” and denied it was racist. “Whilst Biden is proud to be Irish and Harris is rightly proud of her Indian background, I certainly withdraw my reference to her as an Indian as it seems to have upset some people,” he responded by tweet. “I did not know her name and identified her with the term Indian. Most people understood. Racist NO.”
He told the Press Association: “I’m very fond of India myself, I’m a member of the British India all-party group, I have two Indians (tenants) in my flats here in London and there’s nothing racist in it whatsoever.”
If the current election results are confirmed, according to the U.S. constitution in December, Harris will have made history as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president-elect.