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Programme highlights Friday, 27 April, 2001, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Hague criticised by his own party
Lord Taylor of Warwick
Lord Taylor believes John Townend should lose the Tory Party whip
One of the Conservative Party's senior black members has told The World at One that Mr Hague is demonstrating weak leadership and that he is listening to bad advice.

The remarks came from Lord Taylor of Warwick after a letter from Tory MP John Townend was published by the Commission of Racial Equality.

What has revived the row is not just the publication of Mr Townend's letter to the Commission for Racial Equality, explaining why he refuses to sign a compact on keeping race out of the election campaign: since he believes the CRE should be abolished, he writes, it would be hypocritical to be associated with the organisation.

But in a new statement, Mr Townend goes much further. He says that immigration is turning Britain into a mongrel race. Everyone, he goes on, should be British/English/Welsh/Scottish, whether they are white, brown, black or yellow.


"It's no good saying he's only got a few days to serve and it doesn't really matter, it does matter."

Lord Taylor of Warwick

Second generation immigrants should consider themselves as natives of this land, adopting English language, culture and history, rather than looking back at a mother-land abroad.

Conservative Party Leader William Hague
Conservative leader William Hague during a visit to Pudsey near Leeds to support the Keep the Pound campaign
The challenge to William Hague's authority is self-evident. When it first emerged that John Townend had stepped out of line on the subject of the CRE compact, there were several calls from outside the Tory Party for him to lose the party whip. Mr Hague declined the invitation.

Mr Hague, who today was on a visit to Pudsey near Leeds, insisted that he's "totally opposed" to any form of racism. But he said that throwing the MP out of the party shortly before he's due to retire would just be a "gesture".

Lord Taylor -- who's a leading black Conservative -- told the World at One this was a cop out, adding: "The leader of the Conservative Party prides himself on his judo and 14 pints-a-day macho image. Now is Mr Hague's chance to demonstrate real macho leadership by withdrawing the whip from Mr Townend and booting him out of the Conservative Party."

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Lord Taylor believes that William Hague should withdraw the whip from John Tonwnend
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