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Clive Lewis calls for hate speech laws to be enforced following Brexit Day poster

PUBLISHED: 20:54 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 07:50 04 February 2020

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Clive Lewis has called on the government to ensure the laws against hate speech are fully enforced after a racist poster was put up in a Norwich tower block.

Winchester Tower in Norwich, where a racist poster was put up on Brexit Day. Picture: David HannantWinchester Tower in Norwich, where a racist poster was put up on Brexit Day. Picture: David Hannant

On Friday, January 31, A4 posters were put up in Winchester Tower which ordered people to speak English or move out of the council block.

The poster was swiftly removed but a photograph of it has been widely shared on social media, prompting furious reactions and making headlines across the country.

On Monday, Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, where Winchester Tower is located, raised the poster in the House of Commons.

Addressing the deputy speaker of the house, Dame Eleanor Laing, Mr Lewis called on his colleagues to ensure hate crime is punished with the full weight of the law.

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David Hannant

He said: "You may have read this weekend that in my constituency of Norwich South notices were placed in a tower block referring to Brexit Day and suggesting that non-English speakers are no longer welcome here and should, I quote, 'stop infecting this once great island'.

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"I wanted to ask you, madam deputy speaker, how we as a house can make clear this appalling racist sentiment does not reflect the views of this country whatever our arrangements after Brexit?

"How I can best make clear as the member for Norwich South that both I and my constituents absolutely abhor and reject this racist statement?

"And finally, also ask how we can ensure the laws against hate speech made in this place are enforced not just in spirit but in letter as well?"

Responding to Mr Lewis, Dame Eleanor said: "I am certain that every member of this house would agree that it is totally unacceptable that such behaviour should occur.

"It is against the law and it is against the rules of common decency and neighbourly behaviour.

"The house will show that it is in total agreement with what you say and the message goes out from here that such behaviour is unacceptable."

Since the appearance of the poster in Winchester Tower, dozens of people have hit back with their own fliers filled with messages of support and tolerance.


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