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Oliver Letwin apologises for 'racist' comments after rioting

State papers

By Gavin Cordon

Published 31/12/2015

Oliver Letwin
Oliver Letwin

David Cameron's policy chief Oliver Letwin has apologised "unreservedly" for any offence he caused for "racist" remarks he made in the wake of the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots.

Files released by the National Archives in London show that Mr Letwin - then an adviser in Margaret Thatcher's No 10 policy unit - blamed "bad moral attitudes" for a series of disturbances which broke out across a series of mainly black inner city areas.

In an outspoken memorandum to the Prime Minister, he poured scorn on claims that the unrest was the product of urban deprivation, saying white communities had endured such conditions for decades without rioting.

In a statement, Mr Letwin - now a minister in the Cabinet Office - said: "I want to make clear that some parts of a private memo I wrote nearly 30 years ago were both badly worded and wrong.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence these comments have caused and wish to make clear that none was intended."

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