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Four candidates running up to be the next MP for Harrow East confronted each other over racial issues in a pre-election debate at the University of Westminster on Tuesday 20th April.


Conservative candidate Bob Blackman, Labour’s Tony McNulty, Liberal Democrat’s Nahid Boethe and UK Independence Party’s Abhijit Pandya were debating the issues facing the borough.


The first issues that were raised referred to the ethnic diversity of the local community of Harrow.


The debate heated up when UKIP candidate Mr Pandya said “multiculturalism leads to segregation and divides between communities”. He claimed that the British Culture should be put first to create “one Britishness” and encourage the local ethnic communities to promote the British culture.


A Harmonious and Diverse Borough


The three candidates from Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative firmly disagreed with these comments, saying that the Harrow community is living in great harmony.


“Harrow is a diverse borough and most importantly all the communities live side by side” Mr Blackman.

 

In response to the comments of the UKIP Candidate, Mr McNulty of the Labour, who has been holding the seat for the last 13 years directly attacked him by saying:  “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. You are a BNP man in a suit.”


Mr Blackman also referred to the recent demonstrations over the Harrow Mosqueand Stop the Islamization of Europe Organisation (SIOE) saying that the community does not need any organisation to cause disruptions over any racial or religious issues.


“There is a great tolerance here of all the different religions and all different races,” he said. Mrs Boethe added “We are all the same, we all live happily together”.


The debate then moved on to discuss health and transport issues where both the Conservative and Labour clashed heavily but also discussed the expenses scandal.

 

Last year, The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr McNulty had claimed second home allowances on a house that his parents live in.

by Randa El Tahawy
randa@rootsidentities.co.uk

Harrow East Candidates clash over diversity

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