Wolverhampton MP DENIES reports she labelled the Black Country flag 'racist'

Eleanor Smith, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South West, has spoken out against claims that she said that the flag was 'offensive' and should be banned.

The 59-year-old theatre nurse-turned-politician said she had been misquoted in a press release issued online last night. Ms Smith said:

"I was contacted by the Express and Star and asked why I hadn't appeared in a photograph with other Black Country MP's seen holding the Black Country flag at Westminster.

"I explained that, due to Parliamentary commitments, I was unable to be there when the photo was taken. In response to further questions, I talked about some concerns which had been raised by some of my constituents about the flag - specifically the image of the chain because of their historical use in the slave trade.

"I went on to say I was uneasy about this image becoming the brand for the Black Country, on the grounds that it associates the Black Country with heritage industries rather than modern ones.

"However, to set the record straight, I did not say that the flag was racist. Neither did I say it should be banned. My views on this matter have been misrepresented."

The Birmingham-born MP went on to say that she was intensely proud of the region and its contribution to the Industrial Revolution, but was "more concerned about developing industries of the present so that Wolverhampton and the Black Country can target their issues around unemployment which, at 27%, is one of the highest in the UK.

Ms Smith said she will be highlighting these, and other economic developments, in her maiden speech to Parliament later this week.


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