Newsbeat

Nadine Dorries accused of thinking 'brown women look the same'

Faiza Shaheen and Ash Sarkar Image copyright Twitter/bbc
Image caption Faiza Shaheen and Ash Sarkar

A Conservative politician, Nadine Dorries, has apologised for mixing up two British Asian women who both work in politics.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire tweeted a video with Ash Sarkar in it - she's a political journalist at Novara Media.

The tweet said Ms Sarkar "may be" the prospective candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, but it was actually Faiza Shaheen.

Ms Dorries told Radio 1 Newsbeat it was due to the pair's accents.

Both women responded to the initial mistake on Twitter. Ms Shaheen accused Ms Dorries of thinking all "brown women" look the same.

A case of mistaken identity?

The Tory MP shared and commented on a tweet of a video about the people who support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In the video there is a clip of Ms Sarkar but she referred to her as Faiza Shaheen.

The tweet has now been deleted from Nadine Dorries' account, but she had shared a video from another account.

Ms Shaheen pointed out the mistake, with a tweet saying: "When Tories think all brown women look the same."

Ms Sarkar also tweeted to say that they are two different women.

The apology

The journalist asked for an apology, saying the MP could "just say sorry" for the tweet.

Image copyright PA

She hasn't responded to that request on Twitter but has emailed Newsbeat apologising: "I wasn't sure. It was a tiny video on my small phone screen when I wrote it.

"I'm obviously really sorry if it caused any offence. I was just guessing really, hence my careful wording of the tweet as in 'may be'.

"It was the accent I was basing the identification on via my phone as I thought I recognised the voice and it sounded like Faiza."

Does this happen regularly?

Other Asian politicians took to Twitter to share their experiences.

It's not the first time the MP for Mid Bedfordshire has been criticised for getting people confused based on their race.

In 2013, she compared the then shadow business secretary Labour MP Chuka Umunna and former boxing champion Chris Eubank.

Nadine Dorries also told Newsbeat that she has had a lot of abuse on Twitter herself.

"I think I honestly have a right to be more offended at some of the appalling tweets posted my way.

"Sad that so many people are quick to scream the word 'racist' when institutional racism in the form of anti-semitism is so rife in the Labour Party and real harmful abuse is being ignored."

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