Tories accuse British home secretary of poll code breach

April 16th, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 16 (IANS) The opposition Tory Party Wednesday reported Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for an alleged breach of ‘purdah’ rules that require government ministers and officials to observe a period of silence - in the run-up to an election. The Tory Party took its complaint to the cabinet secretary after Home Secretary Smith Wednesday announced plans to recruit up to 300 police and civilians in order to prevent radicalisation among Muslim youths.

The new roles would include training others, briefing on where radicalism might be happening, identifying people at risk of radicalisation, working with colleges, prisons and schools and make links to mosques.

“We recognise that we can neither arrest our way out of the problems we face nor protect ourselves to the point where the threat disappears. We need to dissuade that very small minority of people who wish to harm our communities from becoming or supporting terrorists. That is the long-term challenge,” she said.

While the Association of Chief Police Officers welcomed the initiative, the Tory Party’s local government spokesman Eric Pickles said: “It is clear that Labour ministers have intentionally broken Cabinet Office rules in an attempt to create a political smokescreen.”

“They are trying to hide the fact that police authorities across the country are now axing the number of police officers, whilst hiking the police levy on council tax bills.”

Electors go the polls in some English and Welsh councils, as well as to elect the London Mayor and Assembly, May 1.

Purdah officially began March 20 for the mayoral elections and April 10 for the council polls.

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