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Prince’s banter rapped by MP


An MP once at the centre of a race row said Prince Harry should have known better with regard to his comments about a fellow soldier.

The prince, third in line to the throne, was this week shown in a video diary from 2006 using a racist name for a colleague.

The MP for Newark, Mr Patrick Mercer, said banter was traditional in the Armed Services, particularly in the Army, but you had to know when banter went from being good-natured to racist or insulting.

“I don’t believe for a minute that it was his intention to be racist or insulting at all. His reputation will be dented by this piece of misjudgment. I can only hope that in the last three years he has grown in stature and can make amends,” said Mr Mercer.

Mr Mercer said Prince Harry had done a great deal of work over the past three years on behalf of the Army, the country and the Royal family that should not be overlooked.

But he said the prince’s remarks had upset many people and so-called nicknames were out of touch with today’s modern Armed Services.

Mr Mercer, a former Army commanding officer, was sacked as the Tories’ homeland security spokesman in 2007, after he gave an interview about racism in the Army.

It was accepted that his comments were taken out of context and related to his experiences rather than his personal beliefs.

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