Attorney general Dominic Grieve says British Asian communities are bringing corruption to local politics. His comments have been branded as “alienating” and “not based on fact”.
Pakistanis in the UK are more likely to be involved in electoral fraud than other communities, the government’s chief legal adviser has told the Telegraph.
Migrants coming from “a favour culture” has led to the growth of corruption in Britain, Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General and Conservative MP for Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, said.
The comments have been branded as “offensive” and “not based on fact” by a member of Mr Grieve’s own party – Sajjad Karim, a Conservative MEP for the North-West.
Corruption can also be found in the “white Anglo-Saxon” community, Mr Grieve said. But he told the Telegraph that the growth of corruption was “because we have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic. It is something we as politicians have to wake to up to”.
“One of the things you have to make absolutely clear is that that is not the case and it’s not acceptable.”
Mr Grieve also drew a distinction between the different south Asian communities in Britain.
Asked if he was referring to the Pakistani community, Mr Grieve said: “Yes, it’s mainly the Pakistani community, not the Indian community. I wouldn’t draw it down to one. I’d be wary of saying it’s just a Pakistani problem.”
In a second statement today, Mr Grieve pulled back from his original singling out of the Pakistani community.
He said: “I am very clear that integration between ethnic communities in the United Kingdom has worked well and has delivered great benefits for all of us…
“The point I was making is that, as a law officer, it’s my duty to ensure the rule of law is upheld, and one of the issues that I feel requires close attention is any potential for a rise in corruption to undermine civil society. I believe this is an issue which needs to be addressed calmly and rationally.
“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.”
In the original interview, Mr Grieves spoke more broadly about the benefits of immigration to the UK and his constituency,
“I happen to be very optimistic about the future of the UK. We have managed integration of minority communities better than most countries in Europe.”
Conservative MEP Sajjad H Karim has said that comments made by the Government’s senior law officer Dominic Grieve are “deeply alienating and offensive”.
He tweeted: “As a British Pakistani I find your comments not based on fact and deeply alienating and offensive @Dominic Grieve.”
Mr Karim accused Mr Grieve of “appealing irresponsibly to populist sentiment. Comments not based on fact.”
There are seven serving British Pakistani MPs, out of a population of 707,000 (according to the 2001 census). That makes Pakistani community in Britain 1.4 per cent of the population and 1.08 per cent of the country’s MPs.