HC Deb 18 December 1980 vol 996 cc533-4
1. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up an inquiry into the growth of neo-Fascist activity in the United Kingdom.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. William Whitelaw)

I have no plans to do so. But I take a serious view of these developments.

Mr. Bidwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman, if he does not have immediate plans to do so, promise within his Department to depute members of the staff and the police in general to keep a far better weather eye on these matters than seems to have been done up to now? Is it not absolutely unacceptable that we while we are struggling to retain racial harmony in this country there is actually neo-Fascist activity which is seeking to stimulate political activity on the basis of race hatred, which we cannot possibly tolerate?

Mr. Whitelaw

As the hon Genatleman will be aware, we are reviewing the Public Order Act. We are continuing to do that and we shall, of course, report to the House as soon as we have done so. I can only add that all of us must stand against violence and provocation, from wherever it comes. Frankly, some of these activities are very bad, but I wish that the reaction to them would also be kept out of the way so that everybody concerned eschews violence.

Mr. Adley

Does not my right hon. Friend think that neo-Communist activity, such as the expulsion of the Social Democratic Alliance from the Labour Party, which has been described by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson) as an outrage, is just as objectionable?

Mr. Whitelaw

I have many responsibilities at the Home Office, but—thank goodness—that is not one of them.