Jospin offers race apology

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The Independent Online
Attempting to amend for a political faux pas, the French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, said yesterday he would apologise to conservative MPs for comments linking the right to racism.

He said he would express his regrets during next week's question-and- answer session in parliament for comments he made on Wednesday, in which he said the right had opposed the abolition of slavery 150 years ago. Mr Jospin, under pressure for his failure to end protests by the unemployed, tried to play down his remarks at the National Assembly. "It's really a parliamentary incident, of which there are many in a democracy," he said. "It shouldn't be dramatised. And as it's the first time, I intend that it will be the last."

Conservative MPs shook their fists and yelled at Mr Jospin after a fellow left-wing MP asked him to speak on the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. "One is certain the left was for the abolition of slavery, and you can't say the same for the right," said Mr Jospin.

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