Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Immigration Blows Up in Howard's Face; TV Audience Incensed over Race Riots Claim

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Immigration Blows Up in Howard's Face; TV Audience Incensed over Race Riots Claim

Article excerpt

Byline: FLORA STUBBS;JOE MURPHY

BRITAIN is likely to see new race riots if immigration is not controlled more tightly, Michael Howard said.

The Tory leader made the comments in a televised debate - and was accused by members of the audience of inciting racial hatred.

The Conservatives have put stricter controls on immigration at the heart of their election campaign, but many of Mr Howard's remarks provoked angry responses from the studio audience.

Jonathan Dimbleby, presenting ITV's Ask The Leaders programme last night, asked Mr Howard if he feared a repeat of the race riots seen in some northern cities. Dimbleby-said: "Are you fearful that if there are more newcomers than is desirable, there will be more Burnleys, more Oldhams?"

Mr Howard replied: "Yes. I think people have to have confidence in the system. They have to understand there is a proper system of controls and that gives people reassurance.

"And I think that when people believe that there is no proper system, that immigration is out of control, I think that these anxieties make it more difficult to have good community relations."

Asked again if he was warning of a repeat of violence, Mr Howard said he would not put it in those terms but "we have to be vigilant if we are to make sure we continue to have good community relations".

Dean Velani, an 18-year-old Asian gap-year student, attacked Mr Howard on his immigration policies, calling them "shambolic opportunism".

He told the Tory leader: "You don't realise what it's like for me, as a first generation [immigrant].

You are inciting xenophobia and hatred in our country."

Mr Howard replied: "I profoundly disagree and what I say frankly to people who hold the view you hold is if you disagree with these proposals then tell us what you would do to deal with the problem. It doesn't take the debate much further to pin labels on me and abuse and insult me in the way in which you have just done."

Gilbert Barthley said that ever since he had come to Britain in 1954 he had heard campaigns based on immigration. …

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