Conservative Party Conference: Fowler attacks Blair on drugs

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The Independent Online
SIR NORMAN Fowler, the shadow Home Secretary, accused the Government yesterday of wasting money on illegal asylum seekers while cutting down on police officers.

Calling for tough measures on law and order, Sir Norman also insisted that sex offenders should be kept behind bars indefinitely if necessary to protect children.

"The Government estimates that over the next three years the taxpayer will spend at least pounds 1bn in supporting asylum applicants, the vast majority of whom are bogus ... it is ludicrous to see the police cut back while we are planning to spend this amount of money on illegal immigration," he said.

Sir Norman told representatives at the conference that people "do not want to see sex offenders released to go free until there is some sensible belief that they will not offend again.

"We will therefore be consulting on how our sentencing system can be strengthened to meet that aim, including the use of more indeterminate sentences," he said.

Sir Norman added he did not believe that the early release of more convicted offenders into the community was the answer "to all our problems".

On drugs, Sir Norman called for "zero tolerance" and in a swipe at Tony Blair's association with pop artists, he said: "The Prime Minister needs to be cautious about his guest list. Frankly, Mr Blair, you don't invite to No 10 people who support drug use."

Roger Gale, the Tory MP for Thanet North, warned, to warm applause from representatives, that there could be social unrest if immigration was not curbed.

"I am all for supporting those in genuine need. Quite another thing is to see our social security system, hospitals and schools used by those whose chief ambition is to spin it hard at the taxpayers' expense while others in greater need have to go without," he said.