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Welsh Defence League

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

5. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the activities of the Welsh Defence League. (298043)

Both the Home Secretary and I are strongly opposed to the racist, fascist policies of the Welsh Defence League, and I commend the Welsh people who united so effectively to drive that vile group out of our communities.

Following the empty threat from that phantom organisation, was it not marvellous to see the way that Newport Christians, Muslims, Jews and political parties united in a magnificent vigil and demonstration that proved once again the marvellous record of racial harmony and solidarity in our city?

I agree; it was fantastic that the whole leadership of the people of Newport combined to say that we do not want such a nasty, racist and poisonous influence in our community. It is worth reminding the House that some of the individuals who lead the Welsh Defence League and its equivalent—the English Defence League—have serious criminal convictions for violence and other nefarious activities. They are not the sort of political groups that we want anywhere in our communities in Wales.

I fully endorse the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Paul Flynn), because when faced with the vile threat of the form of racism that the Welsh Defence League is peddling, we in Swansea were united: myself, other politicians and citizens in Swansea stood firm against that and said quite clearly, “We don’t want it here. We are a community, and we’ll stand together with everyone in the community.” Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating those people who stood together?

I will happily do so; my hon. Friend, too, was right there on the front line, saying on behalf of the people of Swansea whom she represents that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Paul Flynn) said at the time, the presence of the Welsh Defence League in Swansea is not welcome, and that we will continue to campaign hard not only to drive those groups out of our communities but to deal with the problems of housing and job insecurity that they seek to exploit on behalf of their vile beliefs. [Interruption.]

Order. There are still far too many private conversations taking place on both sides of the Chamber. I understand that right hon. and hon. Members are keenly anticipating Prime Minister’s questions, but this is a very solemn day in the national calendar, and I appeal to Members to behave in a way that reflects credit on the House.