PARLIAMENT & POLITICS: Race Relations - Duncan Smith Blames Political Correctness for Row over Pledge
Nigel Morris Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH yesterday blamed political correctness for inflaming the row over his refusal to sign a religious tolerance pledge. The Conservative Party leader hit back after coming under attack from the black Tory peer, Lord Taylor of Warwick, for his "pigheaded" attitude to race issues.
The furore over the Pledge to British Muslims - which committed signatories to improving community relations and to avoiding racially inflammatory language - rattled the Tory leadership and overshadowed an attempt by Mr Duncan Smith to turn the political focus on to the economy and public services in a speech yesterday to the Confederation of British Industry conference. He was forced to undertake a series of interviews in an attempt to take the heat out of the row.
Mr Duncan Smith told ITN that British public preferred to deliver their verdict on what politicians said, than what they signed, adding that "this sort of politically correct attitude" which judged people on whether they "sign this or sign that" was wrong.
The Tory leader reiterated that he had wanted to issue a "bigger and fuller" statement of support for the Muslim community than the pledge organised by the Islamic Society of Britain. …