Attorney General denies using racist language in Telegraph interview after Wycombe Cllr calls for his resignation (From Bucks Free Press)
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Attorney General Dominic Grieve denies making racist remarks in Telegraph interview amid Wycombe Cllr's call for his resignation
THE Attorney General said claims he made racist comments in a newspaper interview are "complete nonsense" amid calls for his resignation from the future Mayor of High Wycombe.
Cllr Khalil Ahmed asked Wycombe District Council Cabinet members what was being done to promote racial cohesion in the district following the closure of the Wycombe Racial Equality Council in 2011.
He said the closure was of concern to residents of an ethnic minority as it would have helped with issues including police stop and search tactics and "the racist comments about British Pakistanis by Dominic Grieve".
The Disraeli councillor asked if the Conservative led-council would support Wycombe Labour’s call for Mr Grieve’s resignation at Thursday’s Full Council meeting.
Cllr John Gibbs, WDC's Cabinet member for Community, said "it’s not my place to call for any MP’s resignation" after stating he was confident residents still had access to the REC’s services via the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Cllr Ahmed was referring to an interview Mr Grieve, the MP for Beaconsfield, gave to The Telegraph in November.
It appeared on the frontpage of the paper under the headline ‘Minister: Corruption is rife in the Pakistani community’.
He was quoted as saying MPs needed to "wake up" to the issue of corruption, which has grown "because we have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic."
Mr Grieve, who apologised for any offense his comments caused, said he was discussing the broad issue of electoral fraud and an example case in Slough which had been highlighted by the Electoral Commission.
The Attorney General today told the BFP: "It’s regretful the headline in The Telegraph didn’t represent what I said in the body of the story and I expressed my regret about the headline at the time, as I found it offensive.
"I attended a public meeting held by Steve Baker, which I believe was attended by Labour and community representatives. We had an extremely good discussion and I think they seemed very well satisfied [with my explanation].
"I also went on Awaaz Radio and have addressed the matter in various forms since. If Cllr Ahmed would like to contact me, I am always happy to meet with locally elected councillors if he has any concerns.
"No-one has ever suggested that I have ever made any racist remarks, not even Labour parliamentarians in Westminster, it is complete nonsense."
Mr Grieve stands by his comments about electoral corruption which, he said, was an issue of concern to him and should be to everyone else.
Wycombe Labour group leader Cllr Ian Bates said: "The Tories have tried to sweep the whole thing under the carpet. Well it won’t stay there. People remember what Mr Grieve said."
Tory Cllr Chaudhary Shafique, chairman of the Council for Wycombe Christian Muslim Relations, said the issue was "water under the bridge".
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