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23 Aug, 2016 10:17

Team Empire? Britain’s former imperial possessions won the Olympics, claims Tory MP

A Tory MP is under fire after tweeting a medal breakdown of the Rio Olympics as if the British Empire still existed.
Team Empire? Britain’s former imperial possessions won the Olympics, claims Tory MP

Heather Wheeler MP has been heavily criticized after posting an image of the hypothetical tally of medals for the British Empire if it still existed.

The score was overlaid on a map of Britain’s former colonies and vassal states.

Now that’s what I call winning!!! Well done Team GB & all our Commonwealth friends, now for the Trade Agreements...” she said in the accompanying tweet.

She was immediately mocked on Twitter, with one user asking how the figures stood for other long-dead empires.

Another pointed out how hard many of the colonies fought to escape Britain’s clutches.

Another pointed out that Britain’s patriotic Australian and New Zealander cousins may not take kindly to being lumped together with their former ruler.

One Indian twitter user was less than complimentary about the MP’s personal reinvention of an empire under which South Asians struggled for centuries.

Wheeler, a vocal Brexiteer, also included a tally for post-referendum Europe and one for the “rest of the world.

Britain’s imperial record and global antics have come under considerable scrutiny from former colonies pressing for it to make amends in recent years.

As well as calls for reparations for slavery from Jamaica – whose top athlete Usain Bolt won yet more sprint gold medals in Rio in 2016 – there have been demands for a payout from Indian politicians for the hardship imposed on the population.

Britain has also been called on to return some of the ill-gotten gains of its colonial heyday with different parties lobbying for the return of the Elgin Marbles – sneakily acquired from Greece in 1812 – and the Koh-I-Noor diamond, which was taken during one of Britain’s wars of conquest in the Punjab in 1849.