Outrage after Derbyshire councillor labelled Prince Phillip a 'massive racist'

A number of residents have expressed their anger after a Derbyshire councillor called Prince Phillip a ‘racist’ and ‘misogynist’ in the wake of his death.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:42 pm

While Derbyshire County Council leader, Barry Lewis, the county’s police force and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh and thanked him for his “many years of service” after he died in the morning on Friday, April 9 – Belper Town councillor Jyoti Wilkinson labelled him a ‘massive racist’.

In several posts on Facebook, the councillor for South Ward criticised Labour Party leader Keir Starmer’s statement in tribute to the longest-serving British consort, which read: “The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.

“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country – from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.”

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Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh died in the morning on Friday, April 9. Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images.

Mr Wilkinson reshared the leader’s post, adding: “He was a massive racist Kier...”.

In a status posted to Facebook, the Belper councillor also wrote: “That’s one less bigot in the world.”

His comments sparked debate online, with some residents calling Mr Wilkinson’s comments ‘disgusting’ – Kate Gough, who lives in Belper replied: “That is so inappropriate at this time and is in itself a bigoted remark.”

Another person on social media added: “I think it’s disgusting that a Belper Town councillor has posted about Prince Phillip in such a way.”

It comes after the Duke of Edinburgh’s remarks to foreigners, women and celebrities, which some have labelled well-intended yet clumsy gaffes and others slurs, have been spotlighted following his death.

In a statement, Mr Wilkinson said: “While it is important to recognise that the death of Prince Phillip has caused great sadness and my condolences are with his family, as they are with the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost loved ones over the Covid pandemic.

"It must be remembered that as an individual Prince Phillip had a long, well publicised history of making racist and misogynistic comments and remarks.”

The councillor for South Ward clarified his comments, which he said were posted to highlight the normalisation of institutional racism within society, which causes ‘great harm’ and called into question whether the Royal Family are ‘fit for purpose’.

He added: "While this have been laughed off as by the media as humour or gaffes at the time, it is important to remember that these are anything but, and normalises behaviour and a culture that causes great harm to the many people who contribute to the rich diversity in our society, a diversity which needs to be celebrated.

"Following the recent revelations regarding Meghan Markle, the Black Lives Matters protests and the draconian anti-immigration laws being pushed by the current government, it is more important than ever that we start to have a very real conversation about how we tackle institutional racism within our society, and whether the Royal Family are fit for purpose when so many are struggling during these turbulent times.”

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