The EVF will not undermine Croydon’s success story

By - Tuesday 23rd July, 2013

Richard Ottaway, MP for Croydon South, joins Gavin Barwell MP and Steve Reed MP in celebrating Croydon’s diversity and unity

Peaceful protest is part of a democracy. There’s not a lot we can do to stop the English Volunteer Force protest, distasteful as it is. The group plans to congregate outside Lunar House, the first port of call for immigrants. They claim they are demonstrating against ‘Islamification and mass immigration in the UK’. But that’s a load of rubbish. What they are in fact seeking to do is divide our community by deliberately stoking up hatred against Muslims, who make up 8% of the Croydon population and account for more than 5,000 of my constituents in Croydon South.

Croydon is a closer, prouder, and more proactive community today than it was before the riots

The police, Croydon Council, and community leaders have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the safety and welfare of all employees and the wider public. We are reassured that in the past, EVF organisers have cooperated with police and arrests have not been made. Unite Against Fascism is planning counter demonstrations, which I hope won’t make matters escalate. While I too disagree with the views espoused by the EVF, I believe that indifference is a much more powerful antidote.

In this spirit, I hope residents will ignore the EVF protest on Saturday and thereby send out a clear message that they’re not welcome here. As we approach the second anniversary of the London riots that besieged Croydon, it is amazing to reflect on how much good has come from the tragic desecration of people’s homes and livelihoods. Croydon is a closer, prouder, and more proactive community today than it was then. And that’s because everyone did their bit to help, whether volunteering, donating, or counselling. They did their bit regardless of who they were and where they came from. We mustn’t let the EVF undermine this success story.

Richard Ottaway

Richard Ottaway

Richard has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for Croydon South since 1992. After the 2010 election he became the first Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to be elected by MPs from all sides of the House. He is also former chairman of the All Party Parliamentary London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Group and is currently a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Population, Development and Reproductive Health. He is married to Nicky and enjoys jazz and sailing. He is a successful yachtsman and has won a number of amateur trophies.

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  • Anne Giles

    My sentiments exactly.

  • Terry Coleman

    Spot on in every respect.