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Deputy PM Fails to Dissociate himself from Blear's Remark

March 23, 2005 1:18 PM

Today, Parmjit Singh Gill, MP for Leicester South, challenged the Deputy Prime Minister in Prime Minister's Questions about Government Minister Hazel Blears's comments about the targeting of Muslims under the New Terrorism Act.

Parmjit, said

"Given that there is deep concern and anxiety in Leicester, expressed by leaders in the Muslim community, including the distinguished Ibrahim Natalia, President of the Masjid Umar Mosque in my Constituency.

"Does the Deputy PM think that his Hon friend, the Member for Salford & Home Office Minster, was right to say that members of the Muslim community should expect to be targeted by the police exercising powers under the new Terrorism Act,

"And would he take this opportunity to disassociate himself from his Hon friend's, ill-judged comments."

In replying to Parmjit, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, completely failed to disassociate himself from Ms Blears comments, merely stating, "I think that's a very unfair representation and not helpful".

Commenting on Prescott's dismal reply, Parmjit stated:

"Not only did Mr. Prescott fail to disassociate himself from Blears comments, he also claimed that my question was not helpful.

"Presumably Mr. Prescott thinks he knows more about the concerns of my constituents than I do. This is not a trivial issue, but strikes at the fundamental balance between freedom and security".


Notes to the Editors

1. Hazel Blears's evidence to the Home Office Select Committee on the 1st March 2005


2. Hazel Blears's comments were covered on BBC Online: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4309961.stm

3. Giving evidence to a Home Office Select Committee Hazel

Blears said:

"...our counter-terrorist powers will be disproportionately experienced by people in the Muslim community. That is the reality, we should acknowledge that reality...."