A Conservative MP told constituents that "looters and arsonists have it coming" after they asked him to condemn president Donald Trump's use of force against demonstrators at George Floyd protests across the US.
New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne told one constituent: "Sorry to disagree. Arsonists and looters have it coming."
The 63-year-old politician's response went viral after Twitter user Eleanor posted a screengrab online, writing: "I emailed my local MP asking him to condemn Trump's actions, support BLM / black people in our community and urge the UK government to take action. This was his response to my email…"
The tweet has since received over 5,000 retweets.
In two other emails seen by VICE UK, Swayne replied to other constituents with the same message: "Racism is a cancer, and I am glad the perpetrator is on a murder charge. Nevertheless, looters, arsonists and rioters have it coming."
His comments came a day after Trump used teargas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters, journalists and clergy to clear the way to the historic St John's church in Washington DC, where he posed for a photo op. He also delivered a speech to send in the US military to crack down on the protests that day.
In 2019, Swayne received widespread criticism after a photo emerged of him in blackface as the funk singer James Brown at a fancy-dress party. At the time, Swayne wrote on his blog that he had "no intention of apologising".
VICE UK has reached out to Swayne for comment and will update the piece if he responds.