Tories in turmoil as top Cabinet Ministers forced to apologise over offensive remarks

Amber Rudd speaks at a press conference in London. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Amber Rudd speaks at a press conference in London. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA
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The Conservative Party has been hit by a series of scandals, after a string of controversial comments from three of its top female Cabinet Ministers.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd sparked a backlash when she described Labour’s Diane Abbott as a "coloured woman".

While Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley backtracked after claiming that killings carried out by soldiers in the region during the Troubles were not crimes.

And Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom came under fire for suggesting that Islamophobia should be treated as a Foreign Office issue.

Ms Rudd, who made the comment in an interview with BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine about online abuse suffered by women, said she was "mortified" by her "clumsy" use of language.

Ms Abbott, who is the Shadow Home Secretary, said the term "coloured" was "outdated" and "offensive", and was a "revealing choice of words".

Elsewhere, Ms Bradley said she was "profoundly sorry" after suggesting that deaths caused by soldiers and police during the Troubles in Northern Ireland were not crimes.

She faced calls to resign following the comments on Wednesday, which sparked criticism from victims of the security forces and nationalist political leaders, while the Irish Government sought an explanation.

In her apology, Ms Bradley said her language was "wrong" and "deeply insensitive" to many of those who lost loved ones.

In the Commons, Ms Leadsom responded to demands for a debate over Islamophobia within the Tory party by suggesting that the Foreign Office should take the lead on the issue.

Labour frontbencher Naz Shah said she was "shocked" by the "baffling" remarks.

The Shadow Women and Equalities Minister added that Mrs Leadsom's response "horrifically alludes to British Muslims as foreigners".

The Commons Leader said: "The Conservative party is taking very strong action in any cases of Islamophobia that we identify.

"We have been extremely robust and urgent in our response to this."

On a definition of Islamophobia, Mrs Leadsom suggested it should be discussed "with Foreign Office ministers".

Downing Street said that Prime Minister still had full confidence in all three ministers.