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Indian-origin UK Women MPs Support Meghan Markle, Condemn 'Colonial Undertones' in Media Attacks

The cross-party letter, signed by a majority from the Labour Party but also some from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, reflects similar pressures the women politicians face in their line of work.

PTI

Updated:October 30, 2019, 10:56 PM IST
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Indian-origin UK Women MPs Support Meghan Markle, Condemn 'Colonial Undertones' in Media Attacks
File Photo of Meghan (Image : Reuters)

London: Indian-origin British MPs have joined 72 women parliamentarians in a campaign to support Meghan Markle and condemned the "colonial undertones" of some of the media attacks on the American actress turned royal after her marriage to Prince Harry.

Opposition Labour Party's Seema Malhotra, Preet Kaur Gill, Lisa Nandy and Valerie Vaz are among those who have signed an open letter of solidarity addressed to the Duchess of Sussex on Tuesday, days after she spoke of the unfair and personal attacks in the British tabloids in a television documentary.

"We wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in a number of our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family," reads the letter, originating from the office of Labour MP Holly Lynch.

"On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy and have sought to cast aspersions about your character, without any good reason as far as we can see. Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories," it reads.

The cross-party letter, signed by a majority from the Labour Party but also some from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, reflects similar pressures the women politicians face in their line of work.

"Although we find ourselves being women in public life in a very different way to you, we share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women in public office from getting on with our very important work. With this in mind we expect the national media to have the integrity to know when a story is in the national

interest, and when it is seeking to tear a woman down.

"We stand with you in solidarity. We will use the means at our disposal to ensure that our press accepts your right to privacy and shows respect, and that their stories reflect the truth," it adds.

Markle had opened up for the first time in a documentary aired on the UK's ITV channel last week, when she spoke of her struggle as a new mother to baby Archie while being in the media spotlight as a member of Britain's royal family.

"When I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy. But my British friends said to me, 'I'm sure he's great but you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life'," recalled the 38-year-old former actress.

"And I very naively I'm American, we don't have that there (said), 'What are you talking about? That doesn't make any sense. I'm not in tabloids.' I didn't get it. So it's been complicated," she said.

Her husband Harry the Duke of Sussex, also spoke about the strain on him and worries about his wife facing the same pressures as his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris amid a paparazzi chase.

Markle is taking legal action against the 'Mail on Sunday' for publishing a letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, and Prince Harry is suing the owner of 'The Sun' and the now defunct 'News of The World' and 'The Mirror' over phone hacking allegations.

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