IN THE same week Maria Miller launched an inquiry into racism locally, she defended deputy mayor Cllr Onnalee Cubitt, who described coronavirus as the "Wuhan flu" and "Chinese virus".

Both terms, popularised by U.S. president Donald Trump, have been denounced by the World Health Organisation for fuelling discrimination. The chair of Basingstoke Chinese Association said they were "insulted" by the use of the term.

Mrs Miller did not need to stand by the deputy mayor. Her decision could be seen to demonstrate that party politics is more important than concerns of the Chinese community in Basingstoke.

At a time when the country is crying out for leadership, it is paramount that those in public office hold themselves and their colleagues to the highest standards.

Any form of discrimination needs to be challenged and acted upon.

Katie French, Editor