Labour Party MP David Lammy has been praised for his handling of a caller who argued he was not English. Despite Mr Lammy being born and raised in England, the caller Jean insisted he could not call himself English as he was also African and Caribbean. The Labour MP rubbished the caller’s claims and informed her of the history of English, British and global immigration trends and how that is integral to understanding a person’s nationality.
The Labour MP later tweeted the encounter with the caller with the comment: “Don’t ever tell me I’m not English.”
He later received praise from other social media users who commended his calm demeanour throughout the row.
The caller Jean said: “You keep saying that you are African-Caribbean, which is fine, but how can you be African-Caribbean and English?
“I am English, but I certainly could not call myself African-Caribbean.”
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Mr Lammy proceeded to explain some of his family history and how it traces back to Britain.
He said: “Jean, just a little bit of history, the truth is Britain 400 years ago started going out into the world.
“It colonised and conquered a lot of the world and a lot of the world has ended up coming back to the mother country, my parents were part of that generation who came from the Caribbean.
“When I took a DNA test I actually had Scottish in me, probably as a result of that, someone somewhere got their leg over with one of my ancestors, I have Scottish blood running through me.
“I have said that gently but it could have been horrendous let us be clear about that.
The caller added that if she was a white person born in the Caribbean she would not call herself Caribbean.
Mr Lammy again calmly explained the history of the region and why the caller was incorrect.
He said: “You probably don’t realise, Jean, that in countries within the Caribbean like Barbados, there are significant white Caribbean populations who have been there for 100s of years.
“They are significantly more Caribbean than I am, didn’t know that did you?”
The caller then concluded that the “whole world was polluting everybody” to which Mr Lammy quickly dismissed her negative use of language and reiterated the fact that people move borders, have children and are of the country they are born in as well as their parental heritage.