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Wacky Jacqui defends Michael Savage ban

Tories slam 'ludicrous' US shock-jock snub

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The home secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday faced an indignant Tory MP, who described her decision to ban US shock-jock Michael Savage from darkening the UK's shores as 'ludicrous'.

Smith recently included Savage on a "name-and-shame" list of 16 undesirables not welcome in this Sceptr'd Isle, which also included a Russian skinhead duo, Hamas MP Yunis Al-Astal, ex-Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Stephen 'Don' Black, neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe and Jewish extremist Mike Guzovsky.

Savage responded by threatening to sue, and even petitioned Hillary Clinton to intervene on his behalf.

Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield, asked the home secretary on what grounds she'd banned Savage. She replied it was for "engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and by fostering hatred that might lead to inter-community violence".

She elaborated: "In his radio broadcasts, Mr Savage has spoken about killing 100 million Muslims, and he has spoken in violent terms about homosexuals. Coming to the UK is a privilege. I refuse to extend that privilege to individuals who abuse our standards and values to undermine our way of life."

Fabricant countered that "the things of which she accuses Mike Savage are also illegal in the United States of America, and he has not faced prosecution there".

He insisted: "Does she realise how ludicrous her ban is and the disrepute into which she has put this country in the eyes of many right-seeing - and, indeed, left-seeing - people in the United States?"

Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate, called the name-and-shame list "a self-evident gimmick and demeaning to Government", which had provoked "a completely avoidable legal action that is producing splendid publicity for Michael Savage".

He demanded: "Does the home secretary think, on reflection, that that was a mistake and the wrong way for the Government to behave?"

Smith replied: "No, I do not."

In the middle of this enlightening debate, Suffolk Tory MP John Gummer addressed a matter rather more pressing than the threat of Hillary Clinton turning up in Westminster and slapping Wacky Jacqui with a big writ - the lamentable decline in politeness at the UK's borders.

Gummer said that while he agreed with the "thrust" of Smith's argument, he noted that were Savage ever to make it to Heathrow he'd be be greeted with "quite the rudest notices in the world" from which someone had "removed 'please' and 'thank you'".

He asked the home sec if she could "make Britain’s welcome to those whom we want a good deal more polite than it is now?"

Smith said her department had "tried to improve the notices at our borders" but that it was "important that when people enter the UK it is clear to them that it is the UK border and that we have certain conditions in place".

Reports that the Home Office is rolling out some new signage reading "Welcome to Britain: No jeans, no trainers, no Russkie skinheads, no fascists, no suicide bombers, no white wizards and no shock-jocks. Have a nice day" are unconfirmed. ®

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