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19 April 2010

BBC foreign affairs debate: split emerges on “profiling”

Hague says there “may well be a case”; Miliband says no.

By James Macintyre

An intriguing little division between the political parties emerged just now during the BBC’s policy debate on foreign affairs, chaired by Andrew Neil. The debaters were the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, William Hague for the Tories and Ed Davey for the Lib Dems.

Asked by Neil if he backs “profiling” by counterterrorist agents — in other words targeting dark-skinned or Muslim people — Hague did not agree with the idea, but said it could be reviewed by a new national security council under the Tories. And although he didn’t bite, Hague did say “there may well be a case” for such a move.

Miliband, on the other hand, turned on Hague and said, “I’ve been there” (in the Foreign Office) and that “racial profiling” is “not the right way” to go. Potential terrorists should be pursued “person by person” and “link by link”, Miliband said. Davey agreed.


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