Government condemns rise in hate crimes after reports of ‘get Poles and gays out’ chant
The government has expressed concern after a surge in hate crime reports in the wake of the EU referendum.
The number of hate crimes reported via the UK police’s online registering site has risen 57 percent since the Brexit vote last week, though all politicians have disavowed bigotry and violence.
PinkNews reported yesterday that a gay London resident heard a mob’s homophobic and anti-Polish chant in central London on Sunday night.
Tory peer and Telegraph executive director, Lord Black of Brentwood raised the issue in the House of Lords today, saying: “In such a dangerous atmosphere, all minorities are at risk, and that includes Britain’s LGBT community.”
He added: “I’m referring to a report in PinkNews that a mob going down Drury Lane was singing ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, first we’ll get the Poles out, and then we’ll get the gays’.
“Could he reassure Britain’s LGBT community that the government will do all it can to crack down on homophobic abuse and bullying?”
Home Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon responded on behalf of the government.
He said: “I assure my noble friend that the sentiments he’s expressed, in terms of ensuring the LGBT community are fully protected.
The minister added he had experienced a hate incident himself, saying: “Sometimes you get passing racism – I myself have experienced the question of ‘where are you from?’ I assured them I am from Wimbledon.”
He continued: “On a more positive note, we need to demonstrate what we are as a country. I was heartened by the fact that we had pride week last week, and at the front of that Pride parade was the London Mayor: the son of a bus driver, of Pakistani heritage and of Muslim faith.”
Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned reports that hate crimes have risen during PMQs.
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He said: “I agree that those attacks are appalling.
“They need to stop, and it is right that all Members of the House, and on both sides of the referendum debate, utterly condemn them.
“That is not what we do in Britain, and at last night’s meeting I reassured the Prime Ministers of countries such as Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic, who were concerned about the issue.
“We do monitor these attacks. The Home Secretary receives regular reports, and we will soon publish a new action plan on tackling hate crime to step up our response.
He added: “We want new steps to boost the reporting of hate crime and to support victims, new CPS guidance to prosecutors on racially aggravated crime, a new fund for protective security measures in potentially vulnerable institutions, and additional funding for community organisations so that they can tackle hate crime.
“Whatever we can do we will do to drive those appalling hate crimes out of our country.”