Mr Grieve said Britain had failed in creating a
cultural 'melting pot'
British multiculturalism has
left a "terrible" legacy which has allowed extremists to flourish,
shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve has warned.
A type of "cultural despair" has led "long-term inhabitants" and
newer arrivals to feel alienated and unsure of UK values, he told
Mr Grieve, speaking on the eve of the Conservative Party
conference, argued this had led to support for extremism.
He also warned against downplaying
Britain's Christian heritage.
Mr Grieve told the Guardian: "We've
actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain.
"In the name of trying to prepare people for some new
multicultural society we've encouraged people, particularly the sort
of long-term inhabitants, to say 'well your cultural background
isn't really very important'."
The vacuum created by
multiculturalism has encouraged support for extremists on both
sides, he argues.
The shadow home secretary went on to say multiculturalism was
inspired by the "understandable" desire to make people feel
But he added: "The idea behind it was [to] create the melting
pot. But the melting pot needs the ingredients of people's
confidence in themselves as they come together. And if it isn't
there I think we've done ourselves huge
Mr Grieve also said the part played
by Christianity in Britain should not be ignored.
"The role of Christianity is really rather important. It can't
just be magicked out of the script. It colours many of the
fundamental viewpoints of British people, including many who've
never been in a church."
It is not the first time a Tory home secretary has spoken out
In 2005, the then shadow home secretary David Davis called on the
government to scrap the "outdated" policy, saying that allowing people of different cultures to settle
without integrating let the "perverted values of suicide bombers"
Mr Davis said he agreed with Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the
then Commission for Racial Equality, who a year earlier argued
multiculturalism belonged to a different era.
Mr Phillips said all citizens should "assert a core of
Asked about Mr Grieve's comments on BBC One's Andrew Marr show,
Conservative leader David Cameron said
he agreed that "state multiculturalism" had been the wrong approach.
Mr Cameron said: "What he said was that state multiculturalism -
the idea that as welcoming people into our country and keep them all
in silos, and treat British Muslims as Muslims, rather than as
British citizens, treat British Jews as Jews rather than as British
citizens - that is
"I think trying to integrate more, trying to bring people
together more, trying to build a strong British identity for the
future, I think that's absolutely right."
Mr Grieve's comments come as an ICM poll for the Guardian
suggested Labour had narrowed the gap on the Tories.
The poll put the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 32% and the Lib
Dems on 18%.
A ComRes survey for the Independent on Sunday last weekend put
the Tories on 39%, Labour on 27% and the Lib Dems on 21%.
The Tory conference will open on Sunday in Birmingham, with a
discussion on the economy involving shadow chancellor George Osborne
and shadow foreign secretary William Hague.
Leader David Cameron's speech closes the conference on Wednesday.