Immigrant crime fear airbrushed from Government report
Warnings of links between mass immigration and crime were removed from a key Home Office report amid fears they would be used by critics, it has emerged.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 4:36PM GMT 27 Oct 2009
The report, published in 2001, had originally pointed to a risk that organised criminals would exploit increases numbers of migrants.
But the passages were removed from the final document because Downing Street was “nervous” that such comments would be seized on by extremists.
It is the latest controversy to surround the study, Migration, A Social and Economic Analysis, which was at the centre of a row this week amid claims Labour had a “secret plot” to use mass immigration to boost multiculturalism and “rub the Right's nose in diversity”.
Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett, claims earlier drafts of the report had suggested the huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country.
He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.
In the latest revelation, it has emerged a section headed “Criminal behaviour”, written as part of a chapter on the impact of migration, was removed.
The missing section warned: “Migration has opened up new opportunities for organised crime.”
It reported: “There is emerging evidence that the circumstances in which asylum seekers are living is leading to criminal offences, including fights and begging.”
One draft also asserted that Britain's record towards Jews fleeing the Nazi regime was “positively shameful in some respects”. It also said racism towards black migrants in past years had come “not just from extremists or working class communities, but from politicians and policy-makers at the highest level”.
Both comments were edited out of the published version.
A Cabinet Office spokesman denied that any political pressure was brought to bear on the report.
Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: “With every day that passes it becomes increasingly clear that the Government tried to deceive the British people about immigration policy.
“This is a disgraceful episode.”
Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, said Mr Neather's claims were 'simply not born out by the facts'.
“The biggest reason for illegal immigration into the United Kingdom was not as Mr Neather who no doubt is on a bonus with his employers said, it was the abandonment in 1994 by the John Major Government of border controls.”
He added: “This Prime Minister has a much more robust attitude to migration than the previous prime minister, and the changes we have been implementing have come straight from Gordon Brown,” he said.
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