Anne Marie Morris apology was insincere, says Boris Johnson's former PR guru

'Anne Marie Morris should have given decent meaningful apology, not a standard one', says campaign strategist

Jo Tanner said Theresa May must demonstrate her disgust

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The MP behind yesterday's 'n-word' controversy has been criticised for the insincerity of her apology by a PR manager who previously worked for Boris Johnson.

Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris has been suspended from the party after using the phrase "n****r in the woodpile." Now she has said: "The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."

Jo Tanner, who previously ran PR campaigns for Johnson, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "A decent meaningful apology, something with a bit more heart behind it would make a hell of a lot more difference.

"I think the type of apology we heard is a very standard set of phrases. It’s always about 'unreserved apologies' and 'apologies for any offence caused', and actually it doesn’t get to the root of the issue, explaining that 'I recognise this is deeply offensive.'

"The reality is what we want to hear is someone say 'oh my goodness why on earth did I say that'."

Tanner said that with this kind of comment, and the anti-Semitism controversy which has engulfed the Labour Party, "you do start to wonder [whether we are] becoming tolerant of this kind of behaviour."

Tanner added that Theresa May now has to "demonstrate, from my point of view disgust at the phrase" and "make clear it’s not acceptable.

"If you look back at some of the issues that have dogged Theresa May, it’s that kind of language where we take the emotion out."

Listen to the full interview above