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Friday, 30 March, 2001, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Tory MP triggers new race row
Asylum seekers
Mr Gill called for tighter restrictions on asylum seekers
Conservative Party leader William Hague is under pressure to discipline another of his MPs for making outspoken comments on immigration.

Christopher Gill criticised the rising numbers of asylum seekers for triggering a "rats in a bucket syndrome" of rising population that was putting pressure on public services.

If you pour enough water on a double scotch, it ceases to taste like whisky

Christopher Gill
He was speaking out in support of colleague John Townend, who provoked outrage earlier in the week after it emerged he had warned that immigrants were undermining the UK's "homogenous Anglo-Saxon society".

Mr Hague has acted swiftly to condemn their views but as both are standing down at the next general election no further action is being taken.

"Mr Hague made his views on this issue very, very clear following Mr Townend's speech," a Tory spokesman said.

"Both Mr Gill and Mr Townend are standing down so as far as the party is concerned William Hague has dealt with the matter very firmly."

But Nigel Knowles, Labour's parliamentary spokesman for Mr Gill's Ludlow constituency, said: "William Hague should withdraw the whip from Mr Gill immediately.

Christopher Gill
Mr Gill is leaving the Conservative Party
"This would be the only decent course of action for Mr Hague, who, only two weeks ago, signed an undertaking ... to not play the race card."

Speaking to The Independent, Mr Gill was asked if Mr Townend, the MP for East Yorkshire, was right to suggest Britain's Anglo-Saxon nature had been diluted.

"It's the 'rats in a bucket' syndrome. I can understand John's concern and I support him. I don't think there's any doubt that it has been diluted.

"If you pour enough water on a double scotch, it ceases to taste like whisky."

The 65-year-old also told the newspaper he was leaving the Conservatives to join the right-wing Freedom Association.

Broadcast plan 'rejected'

His remarks were published as it emerged a Conservative Party broadcast showing "asylum seekers" attempting to get into Britain will never be screened.

Plans to hire "eastern European"-looking actors for the film were disclosed in a leak to a newspaper website.

Originally the Conservatives would not confirm or deny whether the broadcast was being made, saying they never commented on election plans.

But on Friday a spokesman said it was an idea suggested by the party's advertising agency that had been quickly rejected.

The explanation came after shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe told BBC's Question Time: "I am assured we have no intention of deploying such a broadcast."

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See also:

28 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Hague rebukes Tory MP over race
27 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Actors play migrants in Tory broadcast
25 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Labour MP tells of asylum 'shame'
14 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Parties will not exploit race issue
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