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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 11:11 GMT
Smith plays down street fear row
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
Questions were asked in parliament about Ms Smith's comments.
The Home Secretary has played down controversy over her admission she felt unsafe walking in London at night.

Jacqui Smith told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that capital's streets were safer than ever.

The row started when she told a Sunday newspaper that she would not be comfortable alone at night in affluent areas, let alone more deprived parts.

The Prime Minister was forced to speak on the issue when he was taunted by a Tory MP at question time on Wednesday.

Defending her comments, Ms Smith, MP for Redditch in Worcestershire, said: "The streets of London are safer now than they have been at any point.

"What I said was that I feel very safe walking around my part of London and where I live in the West Midlands, but actually I think most people - and it would be the official advice - probably wouldn't walk somewhere, at midnight, that they didn't know.

I want everybody in Britain to be safe and feel safe on our streets
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister

"That's a sensible answer isn't it?"

She said Hackney had "unfortunately got a bad name" from her comments.

"In Hackney crime has come down by 30% because of the work the local council and others have done."

Following The Sunday Times interview, an aide said the Home Secretary, who has full-time police protection, had recently bought a late-night kebab in Peckham, south London.

Conservative Stephen Crabb said in the House of Commons: "What's happening on Britain's streets when the Home Secretary needs an armed police escort to go and buy a kebab?"

Gordon Brown told him: "I want everybody in Britain to be safe and feel safe on our streets.

"There are more police than ever in our country and we will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our citizens."

Smith admits London street fear
20 Jan 08 |  UK Politics


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