Morris urged to drop asylum debate plea

Labour conference: Detention
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Indy Politics

Bill Morris, the general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, was coming under intense pressure last night to abandon a motion calling on conference to scrap the detention of asylum-seekers.

The T&G motion, due to be discussed today, criticises "the enforced imprisonment of refugees and asylum-seekers" and applauds the High Court for declaring the Oakington reception centre in Cambridgeshire "illegal". The motion also renews calls to scrap the controversial asylum-seekers' vouchers scheme.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, will tell conference today that he plans to overhaul the entire asylum system, although he is unlikely to back down from either detention or vouchers. He will also spell out plans for a new law banning religious discrimination which he says was requested by leading Muslims during a meeting since the 11 September attacks.

The Home Secretary, in his address to the conference, will say the "right of free speech" in Britain should not be used "to stir up tension in our cities and towns". The announcement that he will tighten up incitement laws is designed to clamp down on anti-Islamic feeling in the UK and also to ensure that extremist Muslim clerics do not incite anti-Jewish or Christian feeling.