Tory leader's attempt to reach out to black voters continues at event in south-east London
The Conservatives would take steps to prevent British National party members becoming teachers, David Cameron said last night. The Tory leader made the pledge at an event in Peckham, south-east London, where he was attempting to reach out to black voters. He said being a member of the BNP and a teacher was "completely incompatible" and headteachers should be given more rights when it came to hiring and firing staff. Ministers last week ruled out banning members of the BNP from the teaching profession.
Cameron, who spent more than an hour taking questions, received the loudest applause of the evening when he said: "Any good headteacher would not have a member of the BNP within a hundred miles of a school. They should be able to fire someone for that reason."
The Tory leader also pledged to stop police using terrorism laws to search people not suspected of terror-related offences. He told those gathered at the Harris Academy that he did not believe people voted on issues that only affected their own race.
"I generally believe in a one-nation Conservative party, a one-nation Britain," he said. But he acknowledged that "for a long time" there were reasons why black people would hold back from supporting the Conservative party.
"Because they would say, 'OK, you stand for one nation. But I don't see other people like me in your party.' If you look at black Britain today, the Conservative party have come a long way," the Tory leader said. He added that the Tories had taken a "huge step" forward.
The event followed an article by Cameron published in the Guardian yesterday in which he pledged to help black people start businesses. One audience member noted that Cameron had ventured into Harriet Harman's constituency in coming to the academy. "No bulletproof vest," the Conservative leader quipped in reference to an occasion when the Labour deputy leader toured Peckham in body armour.
Questions from the floor varied from the NHS and carers to stop-and-search and immigration. Cameron received a warm reception for most of his answers but was heckled by one man at the end.
"You're no Tony Blair, mate," the man shouted.
"I'm glad I'm not," Cameron retorted.