All five British Parliamentary party leaders committed themselves to take action against any of their own candidates or campaigners who do or say anything likely to stir up racial prejudice. They have been supported by MP’s from all parties, including Sir George.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Leader of the Opposition William Hague joined Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy, Plaid Cymru Leader Ieuan Wyn-Jones and Scottish National Party Leader John Swinney in signing a cross party compact, brokered by the Commission for Racial Equality.
The agreement calls for robust political debate but commits politicians 'not to pitch one group against another for short term political or personal gain ' .
Welcoming the commitment of the party leaders, CRE Chair Gurbux Singh urged all current MPs and new candidates standing in the general election to add their signatures to those of the party leaders.
'We want a thoroughgoing discussion of race issues in modem Britain,' he said. 'Without effective debate on
what the problems are and how solutions can be offered, we will not rid Britain of the discrimination that all
political leaders have condemned. But we will only get that discussion when it is based on fact and not on assumptions, stereotypes or prejudices. ,
The agreement says: 'The right to free political expression must not be abused in the competition for popular votes by causing, or exploiting, prejudice and discrimination on the grounds of race or nationality .
The leaders' accept responsibility to ensure that every alleged breach is properly investigated by my party and that appropriate action is taken. ,
Complaints about the behaviour of individual political campaigners will not be handled by the CRE but passed straight on to the relevant party .Each party has nominated a named senior individual who will deal with the complaints.