British politicians have not previously considered the issue of integrating immigrants as they feared being “called a racist”, the Communities Secretary has claimed.
Sajid Javid said many of the findings of a Government-commissioned review “ring true to me personally” – and that many people who moved to the UK failed to “embrace the shared values that make Britain great”.
He added Dame Louise Casey's report also shows more needs to be done by Muslim communities and some Muslim men about "how they treat Muslim women".
Replying to an urgent question in the House of Commons Mr Javid said: “Many of her findings ring true to me personally.
“I've seen for myself the enormous contribution that immigrants and their families make to British life, all without giving up their unique cultural identities.
“But I've also seen with my own eyes the other side of the equation.
“For too long, too many people in this country have been living parallel lives - refusing to integrate and failing to embrace the shared values that make Britain great.
“And for too long, too many politicians in this country have refused to deal with the problem.
“They've ducked the issue for fear of being called a racist, failing the very people they're supposed to be helping and I will not allow this to continue.
“We in public life have a moral responsibility to deal with this situation and Dame Louise's report is a crucial step in that process.”
Mr Javid said he would study the report's findings and outline policies in response to it in the Spring.
Despite Mr Javid's claim that politicians have avoided the issue, it has long been a fixture of British political discourse. In 2006 Tony Blair said immigrants had "a duty" to integrate and adopt British values. In 2007 Gordon Brown said migrants had to earn their citizenship. In 2011 David Cameron attacked immigrants who were "not really wanting or even willing to integrate".
The report, published on Monday, claimed that communities across the UK were segregated. It recommended that immigrants improve their English langauge skills and be forced to swear and oath to British values.
Labour’s Theresa Pearce echoed Mr Javid’s comments: “For too long as a country we’ve ignored these complex issues for fear of being seen as racist or attacking cultural attitudes.
“Sadly this approach has left a vacuum that has been exploited by those who exist to promote hatred.”
She called for the Government to address the issues highlighted by the report in a “realistic and mature way” – and criticised cuts to English language funding.
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