Corruption problem among some UK minorities, says MP

Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve said corruption was "endemic" in some societies

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Attorney General Dominic Grieve has said politicians need to "wake up" to the issue of corruption in some minority communities.

Mr Grieve told the Daily Telegraph it was not restricted to "any one community" but he was referring mainly to "the Pakistani community".

He said it must be made "absolutely clear" that a "favour culture" is unacceptable in Britain.

British Asian politicians, including a fellow Tory, criticised the comments.

Mr Grieve told the Telegraph he would be "wary of saying" it was just a Pakistani problem, pointing out corruption was found in the "white Anglo-Saxon" community too.

Start Quote

We have managed integration of minority communities better than most countries in Europe”

End Quote Dominic Grieve Attorney General

But he said some immigrants come to Britain from countries where corruption is "endemic".

These are societies "where they have been brought up to believe you can only get certain things through a favour culture," he said.

"One of the things you have to make absolutely clear is that is not the case and it's not acceptable."

Mr Grieve, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield and the government's chief legal adviser, added: "It is something as politicians we have to wake up to."

'Divide and conquer'

In a statement to the BBC, he said integration of ethnic minorities in the UK had "delivered great benefits for all of us".

On the issue of corruption, he added: "I am absolutely clear that this problem is not attributable to any one community, as I know very well from my many years promoting community cohesion."

But the Telegraph says when he was asked if he was referring to the Pakistani community, Mr Grieve said: "Yes, it's mainly the Pakistani community, not the Indian community."

Khalid Mahmood, a Labour MP who came to the UK from Pakistan as a child, said the attorney general was marking out the Pakistani community as "more corrupt" than other minority groups.

The MP for Birmingham Perry Barr told BBC Radio 5 live that Mr Grieve was trying to "divide and conquer" within communities.

His comments were echoed by Lib Dem Qassim Afzal, chairman of the party's Friends of Pakistan group, who criticised what he called Mr Grieve's "loose language".

"I'm profoundly disturbed at a statement from such a senior Conservative MP against the British Pakistani community," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

And MEP Sajjad Karim, a Conservative colleague of Mr Grieve's, said the intervention would be seen as "purely populist".

He told the BBC: "As a member of the British Pakistani community myself, I've found these comments to be offensive [and] divisive."

Electoral fraud

Mr Grieve's warning echoes comments made by Conservative peer Baroness Warsi in 2010.

Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi has previously warned of electoral fraud among some immigrant communities

She told the New Statesman magazine there were "at least three seats where we lost, where we didn't gain the seat, based on electoral fraud" and said the problems were "predominantly within the Asian community".

BBC political correspondent Ben Wright said electoral fraud was a "particular concern".

He said the the issue of corruption in certain communities was "sensitive territory" for politicians, and that the attorney general was "careful to qualify" his comments by saying the problem was not restricted to one minority.

In his interview with the newspaper, Mr Grieve also said he was "very optimistic about the future of the UK".

"We have managed integration of minority communities better than most countries in Europe," he said.

But he warned the UK's infrastructure could be put under strain if large numbers of people from Romania and Bulgaria come to the country when immigration controls expire in January.

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    10:55: Farages in Margate
    Kirsten Farage arrives at the UKIP spring conference

    Nigel Farage's wife, Kirsten, has arrived for the UKIP spring conference in Margate. There has been some doubt as to whether the UKIP leader will be speaking today given that he has just flown back from a gathering of conservative politicians in the United States. But as we speak, he is billed to appear at just after 16:00 GMT.

     
  70.  
    10:43: EU 'decaying and deluded'
    UKIP badges on sale at its spring conference

    Turning to Europe, Suzanne Evans says the UK is "more than just a star on someone else's flag" - she says she wants to see the country "freed from the demands of a decaying and deluded EU". She recites a list of prime ministers since Ted Heath, and says: "By one treacherous treaty after treacherous treaty they handed power that should still be vested in parliament, in Westminster, in the people of Britain, over to Brussels." And she adds that Labour and the Conservatives are the true parties of "little Englanders" - UKIP "aren't the ones who want to stay in the shadows jumping at Frau Merkel's every command".

     
  71.  
    10:35: Cast-iron guarantees?

    Suzanne Evans, who only took over responsibility for UKIP's manifesto last month, says successive promises by party leaders have been broken, such as Nick Clegg vowing not to raise tuition fees, and David Cameron promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. She says: "That's the trouble with cast-iron guarantees - they can be a bit brittle."

     
  72.  
    10:32: Manifesto 'quality, not quantity'
    UKIP deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans

    UKIP's Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans is next up. She opens her speech with a joke referencing her party's oft-mocked 2010 manifesto, which was 427 pages long. The 2015 version, she insists, won't be calling for taxi drivers to wear uniforms, people to wear formal-dress to the theatre, or for the Circle Line on the London Underground to be actually shaped like a circle again. She says in 2015, the party's manifesto will focus on "quality, not quantity" and potential "bear traps" will be spotted and avoided.

     
  73.  
    10:29: UKIP 'party of the NHS'

    Mark Reckless tells the audience at the UKIP spring conference his party is "the party of the NHS": promising to back local health boards, spend £3bn more on the NHS, transform dementia care, and abolish what he calls a "tax on illness" - hospital car parking charges.

     
  74.  
    10:29: Going beyond 'UKIP's base'

    Mark Reckless, who was re-elected to Parliament as a UKIP MP in November, is talking about issues which he says can help the party "reach beyond its base" - including planning, the NHS and energy. On the EU, he says UKIP wants to leave "not because we are nationalists but because we are democrats".

     
  75.  
    10:29: Reckless speech to UKIP
    Mark Reckless

    UKIP MP Mark Reckless is formally opening its spring conference in Margate. He starts by joking that his appearance is set to be less newsworthy than that at UKIP's autumn conference in September, when his dramatic arrival in Doncaster confirmed that he had defected from the Conservatives.

     
  76.  
    10:22: Tuition fees 'politically toxic' Alex Forsyth BBC News Education Correspondent

    The BBC's Alex Forsyth says Labour "will hope after all these years of deliberation, they've come up with a policy that's going to appeal to voters and makes financial sense - but the critics so far aren't convinced". She adds that tuition fees are "politically toxic territory", having burned both the last Labour government and - of course - the Lib Dems under Nick Clegg.

     
  77.  
    @robindbrant 10:19: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Local #UKIP man Tim Scott tells Margate audience "we're on the march...they're scared of us...let's not give them any more ammunition"

     
  78.  
    @robindbrant 10:14: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: .@UKIP chairman 'have we peaked?' Margate audience 'nooooo' #ge2015

     
  79.  
    10:06: Daily Politics line-up Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    A veritable bonanza on the Daily Politics today - join Andrew Neil and the following guests at 12:00 GMT: journalist Harry Cole; Atul Hatwal of Labour Uncut; the American pollster Frank Luntz; UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans; Conservative MP David Willetts; House of Cards creator Lord Dobbs; and the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn, Maajid Nawaz.

    Daily Politics guests
     
  80.  
    @robindbrant 10:04: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: What is it about tea towels in #ge2015 ? @IsabelHardman @IainMcNicol

    Nigel Farage tea towel
     
  81.  
    09:50: Woe for Ed Balls?
    Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

    The website Labour Uncut reports that "senior members" of Ed Miliband's inner circle are planning to encourage the Labour leader to sack Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the event the party has to secure a post-election coalition deal with the SNP: "Insiders familiar with these discussions over the past few weeks describe a scenario where Labour would have to 'reset its economic standing with the public' and demonstrate to the SNP that it would not be 'wedded to austerity-lite'. For some of Ed Miliband's closest and oldest advisers, removing Ed Balls would achieve both objectives as well as ridding them of a potentially truculent and obstructive Chancellor."

     
  82.  
    09:34: UKIP are 'picked on'
    Suzanne Evans

    UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans tells the BBC's Vicki Young that UKIP are being "singled out" over offensive comments made by members and supporters of the party. She says among candidates from other parties across the country there is "an amazing amount of racism, sexism, and fraud", but UKIP are being "picked on". She adds that as UKIP's spring conference gets under way, the party has taken comfort from the fact that a local poll in Thanet South, where Nigel Farage is bidding to be an MP, puts the UKIP leader 11% ahead of his nearest opponent.

     
  83.  
    09:23: Clarkson vs Dugher
    Jeremy Clarkson, in a promotional picture for BBC series Top Gear

    Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher - sometimes described as Labour's "attack dog" - has sunk his teeth into Jeremy Clarkson, scourge of the hybrid-driving, muesli-eating classes. Dugher described the Top Gear presenter as "bit of an idiot" in an interview with the House magazine, saying he was "not remotely representative of motorists" and just "represents himself". Clarkson snapped back on Twitter: "Labour's transport spokesman says he doesn't like Top Gear. Good. We don't make it for people who wear pink ties."

     
  84.  
    09:09: Questions for Labour Robert Peston Economics editor
    Ed Miliband

    The BBC's economics editor Robert Peston looks at some questions Ed Miliband needs to answer about his plans to reduce tuition fees, as well as examining just how Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls might pay for the measure.

     
  85.  
    08:58: Labour tuition fee pledge Nick Robinson Political editor

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Labour's plan to cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 is "one of the biggest spending pledges Ed Miliband has made", and adds that it is interesting to note the Labour leader's priorities at a time when government cuts more generally have to be made. With the debate over the policy having barely begun, why has he chosen to spend so much on university students rather than schools, the NHS, or more Sure Start centres?

     
  86.  
    08:52: Cable on coalition

    Pressed as to whether the Labour plans to reduce fees would constitute a "red line" in any potential coalition negotiations between the Lib Dems and Ed Miliband's party, Vince Cable says simply: "It would certainly make it more difficult to work with them." The business secretary says the Lib Dems would insist on fees remaining the same, but says they're not talking about "red lines".

     
  87.  
    08:43: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable tells BBC Breakfast that the current tuition fee system is "fair, sustainable, been praised by international bodies, and making sure we have a high standard of university education". He says Labour plans to curb pension tax reliefs in order to pay for a cut in fees is a "completely bogus, fictional system of funding". Mr Cable adds that Ed Miliband is making promises for short-term political gain that "they would find it very hard to deliver, and if they did deliver it it would do a lot of harm".

     
  88.  
    @paulwaugh 08:35: Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome

    tweets: Greg Clark 1st reaction to EdM tuition fees plan: savers + "taxpayers will pay the price for a policy that will cause chaos"

     
  89.  
    @RebeccaKeating 08:12: Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter

    tweets: #UKIP getting more media savvy - yesterday this poster at Margate conf venue said 'Circus of Horrors'

    Poster
     
  90.  
    08:11: The Westminster House of Cards... The Spectator
    Parliament at night

    Today marks the return of scheming American politico Frank Underwood - played by Kevin Spacey - on the Netflix drama House of Cards. Originally based on a classic British series, the re-make spawned its own British parody organised by The Spectator. See the Machiavellian tendencies of some familiar faces from the green benches on full display here (YouTube link).

     
  91.  
    @michaelsavage 08:10: Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent

    tweets: Many Labour insiders believe helping students with maintenance costs would have been better way to help those from poorer backgrounds.

     
  92.  
    08:06: Student finance 'imploding' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Graduates

    Questioned about Labour's planned tuition fee cut, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie declines to elaborate on how it will be paid for, saying Ed Miliband will set out the details later. He tells the BBC the current system is "imploding" and the UK cannot afford the "next generation" to be saddled with ever-increasing debt. He suggests that universities, as well as students, will be "very satisfied" with what his party is proposing.

     
  93.  
    07:57: Welsh devolution BBC Radio 4 Today
    Chamber of the National Assembly of Wales

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has been defending the government's devolution plans, saying they will give the Welsh people a "stronger voice in their own affairs". He tells the BBC that it is "not healthy" that the Welsh Government currently raises almost none of the £15bn it spends every year, describing it as "one great big spending department". The devolution package will make the Welsh Assembly more accountable while strengthening Wales' position within the UK, he adds.

     
  94.  
    07:56: 'Third-rate devolution' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Leanne Wood

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has told Radio 4 that plans to be set out later by David Cameron and Nick Clegg to transfer more powers to Wales from Westminster don't go far enough. She says Wales needs to have "decades of funding disadvantage rectified", with more tax-raising powers than have been promised so Wales "can stand on our own two feet". Ms Wood adds that there is a "stark contrast" between the cross-party consensus on devolution with regard to Scotland and the situation in Wales, adding that "there is no good reason why Wales should have third-rate devolution".

     
  95.  
    07:37: Any Questions? 20:00 GMT BBC Radio 4
    Jonathan Dimbleby

    On Any Questions? with Jonathan Dimbleby tonight: Green leader Natalie Bennett, UKIP's only Scottish MEP David Coburn, the columnist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer, and the Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

     
  96.  
    07:34: Another day at the office
    Palace of Westminster

    The perennial accusation that MPs have it easy has flared up in the dog days of this parliament with the recent controversy over second jobs. Most people's idea of Commons debate is the finger-pointing and heckling of PMQs - but here's just some of the topics being discussed or legislated upon today in the Commons, in a rather more sedate fashion: tyre safety; funeral services; firearm and shotgun licensing; e-cigarettes; sugar in food and drinks; wild animals in circuses; and investigations into deaths in mental health settings.

     
  97.  
    07:33: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable has attacked Labour's plan to cut the highest tuition fees by a third as "financially illiterate". Mr Cable, who helped design the current system of student finance, said existing arrangements were "fair and sustainable" and Labour's plans would "reduce the support for disadvantaged students and benefit only the richest". He added: "It will do great harm to universities and create a costly black hole in the national budget."

     
  98.  
    @bbckamal 07:17: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds to pay first dividend since 2008, 0.75p per share, valued at £535m

    and

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio remuneration package will total £11m after shares rise by 193% since 2012

     
  99.  
    07:15: UKIP and the Barnett formula
    UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    We just heard from Robin Brant that UKIP will announce it supports George Osborne's strategy for eliminating the deficit by 2018. But the Financial Times reports that as part of that strategy, Nigel Farage's party would back ending the use of the Barnett formula - which currently dictates how much money for public spending is given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by Westminster. UKIP, says the FT, wants "heavy cuts" to that block grant.

     
  100.  
    @BBCNormanS 07:13: Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    tweets: Understood Labour tuition fee cut to be paid for by "better off mums and dads"

     

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