Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

UK ban on US shock jock Mike Savage 'to stay in place'

Mike Savage
Mike Savage says he has never advocated any violence

A US radio presenter who talked about killing Muslims and made anti-gay remarks will continue to be banned from the UK, the government says.

Security minister Lord West said the "abhorrent" and "offensive" comments by Mike Savage could stir up violence if the ruling was overturned.

The DJ is on a list of 22 people barred from the UK, published last year.

UK Independence Party leader Lord Pearson is campaigning for Mr Savage to be allowed to enter the country.

Since 2005, the UK has been able to ban people who promote hatred, terrorist violence or serious criminal activity.

'Inflammatory?'

Mr Savage, known as a "shock jock", has described his inclusion on the prohibited list as "crazy", arguing: "None of my words have ever led to violence for the simple reason that I do not call for violence."

In the absence of clear, convincing and public evidence that Mr Savage has repudiated his previous statements, the current home secretary is not prepared to review the exclusion decision

In a House of Lords debate, Lord Pearson said the DJ had won a US award for free speech and asked whether there were "any statements made by Dr Savage which the government judges to be inflammatory".

He asked "Is the government aware that Dr Savage has given a rare botanical collection to Kew Gardens? Should he not be able to visit it?"

Lord Pearson also said Mr Savage's comments should be taken in the "context" of his radio show, rather than in isolation.

But Lord West said: "He's spoken about killing 100 million Muslims and spoken in very violent and unpleasant terms about homosexuals."

Such remarks were "very deeply offensive", he added.

Lord West also said: "The former Home Secretary [Jacqui Smith] made clear that Mr Savage was banned for... unacceptable behaviour and making comments that might lead to civil violence [and] community violence."

The minister did not read out any of the allegedly offensive statements by Mr Savage, but said: "I will provide a list of the things he has said, some of which are fairly objectionable and unpleasant.

"I would be surprised if some of the these statements could be put in a context that makes them anything other than abhorrent."

Labour's Lord Peston raised a laugh when he suggested the ban on Mr Savage was part of the government's "approach of protecting British jobs for British workers, namely that we produce enough nutcases here not to import any from other countries."



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