A leading Conservative Welsh MP has resigned as the party's education spokesman after describing the Italy Euro 2008 team as "greasy wops".Alun Cairns made the inappropriate comments during a weekly political discussion programme on BBC Radio Cymru.
During the programme, Dau o'r Bae, contributors were asked who they would be supporting at Euro 2008. One contributor said she had written a note next to the side of each team at the tournament, describing Sweden as “boring” and writing “nice flag” next to Portugal.
She then said that she had written “nice food” next to Italy, before Mr Cairns stepped in and said: "I've written greasy wops."
The presenter of the programme then immediately asked the Tory MP to issue an apology, which he did before the programme ended.
However yesterday afternoon, Mr Cairns, the South Wales West AM, announced that he had resigned as shadow education spokesman and chair of the assembly's finance committee.
"In light of the inappropriate comments I made yesterday regarding Italy I believe I can no longer continue in these roles in the national assembly," he stated.
"I very much regret the remarks and wish to apologise once again for the offence they may have caused.
"I have the utmost respect for Italy and Italian people but accept that my comments, no matter how inadvertent, were unacceptable.
"I support all efforts to tackle xenophobia and racism and will continue to promote equality and tolerance."
Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne AM has accepted Cairns’ resignation.
"While his comments were completely out of character they were unacceptable," explained Mr Bourne.
"Alun is a long-serving, hard working, and well-respected politician but knows his comments were inappropriate and regrettable."
Wales’ greatest sportsman at present is actually a Wesh-Italian. The unbeaten champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, known as the ‘Italian Dragon’, has a Welsh mother and an Italian father.