By Grahame Anderson
Controversial historian Dr David Starkey has resigned his honorary fellowship at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam college following racist comments he made in an online interview.
The TV presenter told Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes on YouTube channel Reasoned UK, slavery was not genocide because there are “so many damn blacks” still around.
His comments spoked a social media frenzy and widespread offence.
In talking about links between the British Empire and slavery he also said: “As for the idea that slavery is this kind of terrible disease that dare not speak its name, it only dare not speak its name, Darren, because we settled it nearly 200 years ago.
“We don’t normally go on about the fact that Roman Catholics once upon a time didn’t have the vote and weren’t allowed to have their own churches because we had Catholic emancipation.”
Mr Grimes was prompted to release a statement saying “It goes without saying that Reasoned UK does not support or condone Dr David Starkey’s words.”
Lecturer Nicholas Guyatt, at the University of Cambridge, tweeted: “Can’t speak for my employer but as someone who teaches history at Cambridge I’m ashamed of our connections with David Starkey and urge both the university and Fitzwilliam College to cut all ties with him.”
The world famous seat of learning wasted little time in citing it will not tolerate racism – Mr Starkey resigned with immediate effect.
A spokesperson for the university told us: “The Master of Fitzwilliam College contacted Dr David Starkey, following his comments. The Master has accepted Dr David Starkey’s resignation of his Honorary Fellowship with immediate effect.
“Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for under-represented groups. Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”
The former Chancellor Sajid Javid added: “We are the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world and have much to be proud of. But David Starkey’s racist comments are a reminder of the appalling views that still exist.”
Back in 2011 comments from Mr Starkey prompted more than 700 complaints to the BBC following his claim on Newsnight: “Whites have become black.”
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, has apologised to staff and students at the university in Kent who have been offended and upset by the “appalling” comments.
He said: “Widely reported comments by historian David Starkey during a recent online interview are, in our view, completely unacceptable and do not reflect the values of our university and community.
“We have therefore terminated, with immediate effect, Dr Starkey’s visiting professorship.”
The 75-year-old is an alumni of Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge and was made an Honorary Fellow in 2006.