John Taylor apologises for referring to Leo Varadkar as ‘the Indian’

Ex-unionist politician says he ‘should have said PM and not used Indian as shorthand’

Former Ulster Unionist politician John Taylor, now life peer Lord Kilclooney

Former Ulster Unionist politician John Taylor, now life peer Lord Kilclooney

 

Former Ulster Unionist politician John Taylor, now life peer Lord Kilclooney, has apologised for referring to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as “the Indian”.

The peer, who is no longer a member of the UUP, acknowledged his remark had caused “upset and misunderstanding”, so he was withdrawing it.

Mr Taylor made the remark in response to a tweet by Sunday Business Post political correspondent Hugh O’Connell.

O’Connell had tweeted: “Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney to the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee: ‘I would like to see a united Ireland in my lifetime. If possible, in my political lifetime.’”

Mr Taylor responded saying: “Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian.”

Following backlash from other tweeters, Mr Taylor tweeted: “You are quite right. I should have said PM and not used Indian as shorthand for his name which I must learn to spell correctly.”

Mr Varadkar’s father Ashok grew up in Mumbai but moved to England after qualifying as a doctor. He met Irish nurse Miriam and they lived in India before moving to Dublin following the arrival of their eldest child Sophia.

Earlier this week, Mr Taylor said that Donegal would be better off as part of Northern Ireland, but struggled to spell the name of the country he feels so strongly about.

Taking to Twitter on Monday evening, he wrote: “The speech today by M Barnier, the EU negotiator on BREXIT, proves beyond doubt that the EU is scheming against the pro UK majority in Northern Ireland and is trying to encourage a United Irekabd by stealth.

The DUP, as largest NI party, should be lobbying EU national leaders!”

He accused not just “Irekabd”, but also “Irekand” and “Southern Urekand” of “scheming” with the EU on unification.

Mr Taylor also insisted that the issue of the Northern Ireland border after Brexit is not the UK’s problem to solve: “The Irish created the border by exiting the UK and they must now accept the consequences.”