Labour has ordered one of its MPs to delete a social media post arguing that Rishi Sunak’s appointment “isn’t a win for Asian representation”.
Nadia Whittome, herself a second-generation British Indian, had said Mr Sunak was not on the side of working people, whatever their background.
But the message disappeared from her Twitter page on Wednesday after an intervention by party bosses.
In the tweet, the Nottingham East MP said: “Rishi Sunak as prime minister isn’t a win for Asian representation.
“He’s a multi-millionaire who, as chancellor, cut taxes on bank profits while overseeing the biggest drop in living standards since 1956.
“Black, white or Asian: if you work for a living, he is not on your side.”
Labour confirmed that it had asked Ms Whittome to delete the tweet, but said it did not expect her to apologise and considered the matter closed.
In a statement Ms Whittome’s office said: “Like Rishi Sunak, Ms Whittome is second-generation British Indian.
“Ms Whittome was pointing to Rishi Sunak’s record as chancellor to demonstrate that effective political representation of British Asian communities – and the interests of all working people – is about far more than the ethnicity of the prime minister.
“Following a discussion with the Labour whips, it was agreed that Ms Whittome would delete the tweet.”
On Sky News on Wednesday Sir Keir was asked whether he had personally intervened to have the tweet removed.
He gave an ambiguous answer, telling the broadcaster: “Let me be very clear with you about the position of the Labour Party.
“I was able to say that at Prime Minister’s Questions, which was to welcome the first Asian prime minister as a real milestone for our country.
“It shows that in Britain, whatever your race, whatever your beliefs, your dream can come true.”
He added: “[Rishi Sunak and I] had a private call last night and the first thing I did was to congratulate him for being a prime minister of British Asian descent, and it’s really, really important that I did that.”