Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:32 pm on 21st April 2004.

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Photo of John Randall John Randall Opposition Whip (Commons) 6:32 pm, 21st April 2004

To be honest, because of its timing, this debate has not been one of our best debates on London. Labour Members accuse us of overstating the case, but we could accuse them of complacency. I have lived in my area all my life and I know that people think that things have changed dramatically. I am not sure that we can blame any political party for that, but in the past two weeks, and less than a mile from my house, we have seen a tuberculosis outbreak in a local school, terrorist suspects arrested and a bus attacked by a gang of youngsters. That is typical of the experience of many people and they feel a sense of desperation about it. The Government have introduced legislation such as the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, but just passing a law does not stop the behaviour.

As the elections draw near, I hope that we can all agree on one thing. London is a diverse capital city, which has always been one of its great strengths. When we go out to campaign in the streets, we must all ensure that racists and the British National party get nowhere and we must not use anything that would make life easier for such people.