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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Blunkett to discuss Oldham riots
Oldham riot scene
The riots were the worst in Britain for 15 years.
The Home Secretary has been asked to back an urgent inquiry into recent riots in Oldham.

On Thursday Mr Blunkett will attend a meeting of MPs, police and civic leaders to discuss how to deal with the problems facing the troubled town.

It follows last month's race riots - the worst seen in Britain for 15 years - between gangs of white and Asian youths.

Meanwhile, Mr Blunkett has Home Office staff that the priorities for the coming parliament will be "the three Ds" - "delivery, delivery, and delivery".

The meeting at Oldham, which was set up after local leaders wrote to the prime minister asking for talks, is also likely to discuss the high polling of the British National Party in last week's general election.

'Bigotry'

The far-right party, which has been accused of exploiting racial tensions in the Greater Manchester area, won 16% and 11% of the vote in Oldham's two constituencies.

Labour minister Michael Meacher, who held on to the Oldham West and Royton seat, said the BNP's surprise results had come on the back of "a systematic campaign of violence, intimidation and bigotry which has been perpetrated on the people of Oldham".

Following the riots, Tony Blair said he was "ready and willing" to take a personal interest in Oldham.

At Thursday's meeting Mr Blunkett will be called on to support an independent review of the roles of local police and Oldham Council in improving race relations.

David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett will be asked to back an urgent review.
The group will ask for a report to be produced within three to four months, and will request that its findings are made public.

Council leader Richard Knowles said: "We will be telling Mr Blunkett that our immediate priority is to restore peace and calm to Oldham and that we are working hard to achieve this, together with all sections of the borough's population."

Attending the meeting will be Greater Manchester Chief Constable David Wilmot, the council's chief executive and local Labour MPs Michael Meacher, Phil Woolas and David Heyes.

Mr Knowles said there was "clear recognition at national level of the situation we are facing here in Oldham and the need to deal with it promptly".

Speaking in London on Wednesday, Mr Blunkett told 3,000 of his staff that his priorities were to meet targets on violent crime and "thuggish behaviour".

Stressing the need for "practical and rational immigration and asylum policies that work", the new home secretary said his overall objective was to "transform the lives of individuals and communities who face continuing disadvantage, division and conflict".

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08 Jun 01 | Vote2001
BNP prompts Oldham concern
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