Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'I Won't Swear Gimmicky Oath to Prove My British Values' Newcastle Councillor Dismisses Loyalty Pledge Idea

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'I Won't Swear Gimmicky Oath to Prove My British Values' Newcastle Councillor Dismisses Loyalty Pledge Idea

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN O'DONOGHUE Local Government Reporter dan.odonoghue@trinitymirror.com @DanChronicle

A MOVE to force every public officeholder 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 also immigrant communities have 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.

"I know many councillors and public sector workers share the same views."

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 like 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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