British lord slammed after calling Irish PM Leo Varadkar a 'typical Indian' on Twitter
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British lord slammed after calling Irish PM Leo Varadkar a 'typical Indian' on Twitter

THE former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has been accused of racism after calling Taoiseach Leo Varadkar a "typical Indian".

John Taylor, also known as Lord Kilclooney, made the remark in a Twitter reply to a BBC headline about Mr Varadkar.

The headline made reference to yesterday's claim by DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson that the Irish PM displayed "poor manners" for visiting Northern Ireland without informing a local representative.

Lord Kilclooney's tweet remained visible on the social media site as of early Tuesday morning.

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The slur has been met with disdain online, with a number of commenters branding the 80-year-old "jealous" and "disgusting".

Sky News' Ireland correspondent Darren McCaffrey tweeted: "Sorry but how is this man allowed to sit in the House of Lords? Another racial slur from Lord Kilclooney".

Back in November, Kilclooney was criticised for referencing Mr Varadkar as "the Indian", again on Twitter.

The peer later claimed his tweet was "not racist" but "shorthand for an Indian surname which I could not spell."

Lord Kilclooney also hit the headlines five months ago when he said that Co. Donegal should join the United Kingdom.

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Defending his latest controversial remark, Kilclooney tweeted: "It is not racially abusive as [Varadkar] himself has confirmed he is half Indian. That is great and not to be dismissed as the Indians are a great race.

"However he has damaged North/South relations by being continually offensive and provocative to the Unionist majority in NIreland."

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long told BBC NI that Lord Kilclooney was "an embarrassment".

She added that she wants the speaker of the House of Lords in London to raise the matter with the peer.

Sinn Fein senator Niall O Donnghaile said he would ask the speaker of the Irish senate to contact the speaker of the House of Lords "urging him to take appropriate action regarding yet another offensive tweet from a member of the House of Lords regarding An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar".

Meanwhile, DUP MLA Christopher Stalford tweeted: "I don't know what John Taylor (Lord Kilclooney) thinks he's playing at but he doesn't speak for me. Absolutely ridiculous behaviour."

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Leo Varadkar was born in Dublin in 1979 to an Indian father and Irish mother who met while working at a hospital in England.

Despite his father's Hindu faith, Mr Varadkar's parents agreed to raise him in the Catholic faith.