Ethnicity: Tory peer fails the cricket test

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Lord Tebbit, who upset his party leader by refusing to tone down his views on race relations, was hoist by his own cricket test yesterday.

William Hague, responding to repeated claims by the former party chairman that multiculturalism was divisive, deployed his own version of Tebbit's test, under which people were judged to be fully integrated only if they cheered for England.

"Norman has always had his own cricket tests of various kinds. I have my own cricket test: if you don't want to be part of the team then get off the field. People ought to bear that in mind at future conferences," he said.

Mr Hague said he believed the comments made by Lord Tebbit would be interpreted by many people as racist, and as such they should be avoided.

"I want the Conservative Party to stand for people who work hard and save hard and are self-reliant and want to be independent. Tory values and also members come from every part of society," he said in a radio interview.

Lord Tebbit left his party's Blackpool conference yesterday after making a speech in which he said that different cultures could not exist comfortably within one society. But before he did so he underlined his remarks and added a further swipe at his party leader.

Mr Hague should not have sent a message of support to this year's gay pride march, he said. "If I had been leader of the Conservative Party I would not have done so, because I think it is not particularly compatible with our family values." He denied that he was opposed to the notion of cultural change and integration, adding: "What I am saying is that we must see if we can find a way in which Muslims can be truly British."