Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Allegiance Oath Idea Rejected by North Councillor

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Allegiance Oath Idea Rejected by North Councillor

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan O'Donoghue Local Government Reporter

APROPOSAL to force every public office-holder to swear an oath of allegiance to "British values" has been roundly rejected by a Newcastle councillor.

The loyalty pledge, proposed by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, would be expected to cover elected officials, civil servants and council workers.

Elswick ward councillor Dipu Ahad dismissed the idea and said he would "never make any gimmicky oath".

He said: "We live in a great country and the opportunities this country has given minorities like myself is something the rest of the world admires, however, not forgetting that immigrant communities have also contributed to society greatly. The beauty of this country is that we've got freedom of speech and we don't live in a dictatorship where views are imposed upon us."

He added: "So, as a public servant, I take an oath today, that as long as I'm elected by the people I serve, I will never make any gimmicky oaths proving my 'British values' as the people have put their trust in me, given me a mandate to speak up for them, and therefore I don't need to prove anything to anyone."

Mr Javid's proposal comes in response to a report on social cohesion by Dame Louise Casey, which warned some sections of society did not accept British values such as tolerance. He said he was "drawn" to Dame Louise's recommendation to bring in an oath of allegiance because it was impossible for people to play a "positive role" in public life unless they accepted basic values such as democracy and equality.

Mr Javid said: "If we are going to challenge such attitudes, civic and political leaders have to lead by example. We can't expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don't do so ourselves, and such an oath would go a long way to making that happen. …

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