British MP guilty of ‘worst breach’ for ‘bloody Jew’ comment
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British MP guilty of ‘worst breach’ for ‘bloody Jew’ comment

Patrick Mercer forced to step down for actions also including abusing power for commercial gain

Patrick Mercer (photo credit: Courtesy)
Patrick Mercer (photo credit: Courtesy)

A British Conservative MP, Patrick Mercer, committed “one of worst ever” breaches of parliamentary rules by calling a female Israeli security guard a “bloody Jew,” a House of Commons watchdog report said.

In addition to the anti-Semitic remark, Mercer, who was forced to step down this week, was also found to have abused his position for paid advocacy — offenses that came to light during an undercover investigation last year by the BBC and the Daily Telegraph.

The report, published Thursday by the Commons standards committee, noted that Mercer had apologized for the remark, saying he was “very tired at the time.” He also he couldn’t be accused of anti-Semitism, as his wife had a Jewish background.

“I am married to a woman of Jewish extraction. I have lots of friends in the Jewish community, and, yes, I can prostrate myself no further, it’s just a stupid thing to say, and I didn’t even…I accept I said it, and I am conscious that my speech isn’t always as balanced as it should be,” Mercer said, according to an excerpt from the report published in the Guardian.

In June 2013, Mercer was filmed making the remark to a reporter posing as a lobbyist. He told of entering an “intelligence establishment” during a recent Israel visit and facing a security guard.

Mercer described the guard as “an 18-year-old girl, wearing a uniform, with her sort of hair in plaits, and crazy jewelry and open-toed sandals, with a rifle up my nose.”

He then described his conversation with her.

“Who the fuck are you, you know? ‘Well I’m a soldier.’ Are you? You don’t look like a soldier to me. You look like a bloody Jew,” Mercer said.

The investigation had also uncovered that Mercer accepted payment from business interests to pose questions and advance motions in parliament.

The report further said that Mercer’s dealings “were motivated by the desire for commercial gain” and that parliament members were “not aware of a case relating to a sitting MP which has involved such a sustained and pervasive breach of the house’s rules on registration, declaration and paid advocacy.”

The standards committee also found that Mercer had made derogatory comments about fellow MPs.

Mercer stepped down on Tuesday, just ahead of the publication of the report, which was set to recommend a six-month suspension from parliament.

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