British MP Patrick Mercer 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – The member of Parliament who was secretly filmed referring to an
Israeli soldier as a “bloody Jew” has apologized, saying he would be writing to
British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to express his remorse.
Mercer, a former shadow minister and MP for Newark, in Nottinghamshire, made the
remarks to an undercover reporter who had filmed the MP allegedly accepting
payment to lobby for a cause.
During the filming, which was screened on
the BBC’s flagship Panorama program last week, Mercer shared a story about a
recent visit to Israel in which he visited an intelligence
Mercer, who resigned from the Conservative party following
the lobbying allegations, described how he was questioned on entering the
establishment by a female soldier who asked him who he was.
He told the
reporter that he answered: “Who the **** are you?” On being told she was a
soldier, Mercer said: “You don’t look like a soldier to me. You look like a
Mercer’s comments were widely condemned.
The Board of
Deputies of British Jews said his comments “displayed a prejudice which is
totally out of place for anyone to make in this country, let alone a member of
Nathalie Tamam, deputy director of Conservative Friends of
Israel, said: “Patrick Mercer, who has had a long and notable career of public
service, will know that he was completely out of order. His alleged comments
were misguided, prejudiced and deeply offensive to both women and Jewish
Originally Mercer said he had been misheard, but the former
shadow homeland security minister issued an “unreserved apology” on Tuesday
“I’d like to apologize unreservedly for any offense I’ve caused
to all my friends in the Jewish community,” he told the Jewish News
The MP, who now sits as an independent in Parliament, said he
had a “terrific connection with the Jewish community” over the years and told
the newspaper that he had been contacted by Jewish friends “who have been
extremely supportive” following the exposé.