Politicians on the “floppy left” are too scared to confront the facts on sex grooming gangs because they fear being branded racist, a Labour MP has said.

Sarah Champion, who resigned last month as Labour’s shadow women and equalities minister, also accused many London-based colleagues of misunderstanding towns in northern England.

The MP for Rotherham quit the frontbench after writing in The Sun that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

There has been a series of cases in towns including Rochdale, Oxford and Newcastle in which groups of men, largely of Pakistani origin, have been convicted of multiple sex crimes against white girls.

Ms Champion’s article led to a backlash from within Labour, while leader Jeremy Corbyn, an MP for Islington in north London, said his party would not “blame” or “demonise any particular group”.

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