UK immigration minister gets pied, removed from BBC appearance

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

Media Center » Video Immigration News

The United Kingdom's new immigration minister, Phil Woolas, fell victim to a custard pie on 24 October 2008 while speaking at an environmental debate held at Manchester University.

Woolas, who replaced Liam Byrne as the UK's immigration minister, began his tenure by hinting at stricter immigration policies for Britain.

When Woolas arrived at the debate, he was faced with a mock 'border control' and asked to present his passport.

Shortly after he began his speech at the debate, a member of No Borders -- a group that campaigns against strict immigration policies -- threw the pie in his face and then ran away.

According to the BBC, a spokesperson for the group said that Woolas had been "spouting right-wing anti-immigration policies". Woolas has not commented on the incident, but he denies that he wants a numerical limit on immigration.

"We threw the pie because we didn't want to engage in debate and legitimise what he was saying," the No Borders spokesperson told the BBC.

What he was spouting were right wing anti-immigration policies," she added. "The danger is that people like him are making such views mainstream."

Pulled from BBC

Prior to the incident, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, requested that Woolas be pulled from a BBC One show called Question Time in response to the Minister's previous controversial remarks.

She had asked the BBC to postpone his appearance for a week. The Labour party also tried to replace his appearance with former Home Office minister Tony McNulty.

The BBC rejected the postponement and instead had Lord Hattersley, the former deputy leader of the party, appear.

Woolas was upset at being pulled, according to the Guardian. He felt that he was being censored by Home Office officials who are angry at what they regard as "unwise" remarks and criticism of past Home Office policy.