There are calls for Gloucester MP Richard Graham to apologise after he suggested immigrants could not use dustbins.

In one of his regular emails to constituents the Conservative Member of Parliament called for an “education programme for immigrants not used to urban recycling”.

He has been condemned by Dr Rebecca Trimnell, his Liberal Democrat opponent at the next General Election, who called on him to apologise.

Mr Graham’s comments were made in the week in which former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was accused of Islamophobia after saying Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes”.

The Gloucester MP sent the email last week to welcome a further step forward towards the closure of Hempsted tip.

He said the opening next year of the new Javelin Park incinerator would mean that all of Stroud and Gloucester’s waste would no longer go to landfill.

“Of course that isn’t the end of the story, although a hugely significant change,” he wrote.

“There is still more work in our city (and all of our county to recycle more – which also implies an education programme for immigrants not used to urban recycling – and Gloucester City Council is working to sort out management issues in the collection of rubbish: I expect announcements in due course to improve this.”

Dr Trimnell, the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester, said: “The arrogance and bigotry that exists within the Conservative Party is an insult to everyone in this country.

“Theresa May once famously called the Conservative’s the Nasty Party. They still are.

“I am disappointed that such comments have been made by an MP who represents such a diverse and multi-cultural city as Gloucester. He should apologise.

“He also labelled gulls feeding on the waste at the tip as ‘The single most depressing sight in Gloucester’.

“I would have thought the sight of people living on the streets of Gloucester or families having to resort to using food banks to survive is ‘The single most depressing sight in Gloucester’.”

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