Fitzwilliam College has faced calls for an apology for not taking action earlier following almost a decade of controversial comments from Dr Starkey.REASONED/YouTube, SirCam. Composite: Joe Cook

Historian Dr David Starkey has resigned from his Honorary Fellowship at Fitzwilliam College after racist comments, which he made on Tuesday, were branded “indefensible” by the Cambridge college.

The College had previously announced that Starkey’s fellowship would be “considered” at a meeting of the Governing Body on Wednesday, in which Varsity understands it was “almost certain” his fellowship would be revoked.

However, the Fitzwilliam College Junior Common Room (JCR) called on the College and community to “address why we have allowed a racist to hold this position” and for “the College to apologise for the harm caused by nearly a decade of inaction.”

In an interview with right-wing commentator Darren Grimes, Starkey argued, “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there?”

“You cannot decolonise the curriculum because you, Black Lives Matter, are wholly and entirely a product of white colonisation. You are not culturally Black Africans. You would die in seconds if you were dumped back in black Africa.”

He went on to say, “Of course, slavery was not the same as the Holocaust.”

The comments were widely condemned, including from former chancellor Sajid Javid who said the racist comments were “a reminder of the appalling views that still exist” in Britain.

Publisher HarperCollins has dropped Starkey as an author, explaining their “last book with the author was in 2010” and committing to “reviewing his existing backlist in light of his comments and views.”

Baroness Morgan contacted Starkey following the interview and accepted his resignation “with immediate effect”, the College said in a statement.

In a separate message to alumni, Fitzwilliam Master, Baroness Sally Morgan, said “I regret that we have been publicly associated with racist expression” but said she hoped “our collective swift response says something important about our seriousness on this matter”.

However, while Fitzwilliam JCR “welcomed” Starkey’s removal, the College have faced criticism from the JCR and Cambridge BME Campaign for not taking action sooner, following controversial remarks from the honorary fellow over at least a decade.

Starkey has been an honorary fellow at Fitzwilliam since 2006, with the BME Campaign arguing that he has relied “on his connections to the University of Cambridge to anchor his brazen support for white supremacy in public-intellectual credibility, legitimacy and respectability.”

The College have been contacted for comment regarding apologising for not moving to revoke the fellowship earlier.

In 2011, following the riots across England, Starkey argued on Newsnight that “what has happened is that the whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.”

The comments were condemned by then Labour leader Ed Miliband and led to student campaigns to revoke Starkey’s fellowship. At the time the University refused to comment on the comments, stating that to do so would be “inappropriate”.

Cambridge BME Campaign, told Varsity on Thursday, that in not revoking Starkey’s fellowship in 2011 Fitzwilliam College “made a choice to prioritise its relations with a high-profile figure over the wellbeing and welfare of its BME students and staff.”

In their latest statement, the College said it “prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for underrepresented groups. Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”

The College stressed that, as an Honorary Fellow, “Starkey holds no teaching role at Fitzwilliam”, but said those in honorary positions “have the same responsibility as all members of our College to uphold our values.”

Varsity has contacted Dr Starkey for comment.