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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Cameron attacks Radio 1's hip-hop
Tim Westwood
Westwood was injured in a drive-by shooting
BBC Radio 1 has been accused of encouraging knife and gun crime by Conservative leader David Cameron.

Mr Cameron singled out the station's Saturday night schedules which feature DJ Tim Westwood's hip-hop show.

Radio 1 strongly denied Mr Cameron's accusation, saying it took its responsibilities "very seriously" and followed strict producer guidelines.

It said hip-hop was a "vibrant" genre which sometimes reflected the "harsher realities of people's lives".

The Conservative leader made his comments on Tuesday evening at a British Society of Magazine Editors event.

"I would say to Radio 1, do you realise that some of the stuff you play on Saturday nights encourages people to carry guns and knives?", said Mr Cameron.


He was responding to a question from June Walton, the editor of Good Housekeeping, about how the Conservatives would tackle the growing problem of knife crime.

Mr Cameron said his remarks were an example of him having "the courage to speak up when you see something that is wrong" despite the fact that "you will get a lot of bricks thrown at you".

Mr Cameron's comments about knife crime follow a string of high profile cases in recent weeks.

A spokesman for BBC Radio 1 said: "Radio 1 strongly refutes any suggestion that the station condones or encourages knife or gun culture.

"The station takes its responsibilities very seriously and has strict producer guidelines that govern all of the output.

"Hip-hop is a huge international genre with a vibrant UK scene and that music reflects the sometimes harsher realities of people's lives and cultures."

'Apalling' lyrics

Only five months ago the Tory leader appeared on Radio 1, in what was widely seen as a bid to demonstrate his youth credentials.

Interviewed by presenters Colin Murray and Edith Bowman, he said he was a fan of The Smiths, Radiohead and Pulp, and selected Cheryl Tweedy when asked which of the Girls Aloud group he thought most attractive.

The Tory leader is not the first politician to link song lyrics to violent crime.

In 2003, then home secretary David Blunkett dubbed so-called gangster rap lyrics "appalling" and vowed to speak to music producers and community leaders in a bid to curb them.

And former culture minister Kim Howells attacked some rap artists for creating a culture "where killing is almost a fashion accessory".

In July 1999, clergyman's son Tim Westwood was himself injured in a drive-by shooting in south London.

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