A HAMPSHIRE MP is facing an angry backlash after he admitted "blacking up" to portray soul singer James Brown at a Blues Brother party.

Sir Desmond Swayne, Tory MP for New Forest West, has come under fire from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as well as opposition politicians.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Sir Desmond, 63, made the controversial admission in a blog post earlier this week.

He defended Canadian premier Justin Trudeau, who is at the centre of a "brownface" scandal after images showed he went to an Arabian Nights party as Aladdin.

New Forest Post:

In a post entitled "Trudeau’s Turban" Sir Desmond said: “It comes to something when you can’t dress-up as Aladdin without attracting the opprobrium of the ‘great and good’.

"He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise.

“I suspect that Justin Trudeau’s cringing apology for blacking himself ‘blinded by his own white privilege’ has done him rather more harm than the original offence.”

Sir Desmond then said he once attended a Blues Brothers-themed fancy-dress party as James Brown.

“I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible,” he said. “I can assure readers of this column that I have no intention of apologising.”

But the MP's comments have been criticised by the EHRC.

A spokesperson said: “While not unlawful, wearing black face make-up should be a thing of the past. Many people would find it offensive and all of us, particularly politicians, need to show leadership in the tone and dialogue we adopt in order to encourage a climate of mutual respect and understanding.”

Sir Desmond also came under fire from Cllr David Harrison, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on New Forest District Council.

He said: "Thank goodness we have moved on from the days of Black and White minstrels. It is pretty obvious to most people that if you happen to have darker coloured skin, white people blacking up and portraying them in an unflattering way is likely to offend.

"The Canadian Prime Minister was right to apologise. Desmond doesn't have the good grace or understanding to do so."