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Roma must respect UK life: Clegg

Nick Clegg has insisted Roma immigrants must respect the British way of life amid warnings that community tensions could spark riots.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he recognised concerns raised by former home secretary David Blunkett, whose Sheffield Brightside constituency neighbours his own in Sheffield Hallam.

The Labour MP said he feared problems in the Page Hall area of the city, where Roma migrants from Slovakia have set up home, could escalate into violence.

He also accused the Government of "burying their head in the sand" over the scale of Roma settlement in the UK.

Speaking on his regular LBC phone-in, Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said he thought it was a good thing that the UK was an open country. But he stressed he had supported controls such as reintroducing counting in and counting out of migrants.

"Of course I am acutely aware of the tensions," Mr Clegg said. "David Blunkett has been very outspoken about it and he has every reason to be concerned as the constituency MP.

"I am not sure bluntly if it helps very many people in Page Hall for him to then lurch around saying it is the Government's fault and it is all because of the Government.

"There is a real dilemma.... when you get communities coming into a part of our country and then they behave in a way that people find quite difficult to accept.

"They behave in a way that people find sometimes intimidating, sometimes offensive.

"I think it is quite right that people should say, and on this if not many other things I actually agree with David Blunkett, we have every right to say if you are in Britain and you are coming to live in Britain and you are bringing up a family here, you have got to be sensitive to the way that life is lived in this country.

"If you do things that people find intimidating - I know that David is concerned about large numbers of people hanging around on the streets in Page Hall - then you have got to listen to what the people of the community have got to say.

"At the end of the day the solution to these things, whether it is in Page Hall or in Slough, is of course people, human beings, talking to each other across community divides."


From Belfast Telegraph