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Dangers lurk in those dark streets.

Byline: Barry Gibson

SO Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is scared to walk the streets of London at night.

In a moment of perhaps unwise honesty, she told a Sunday newspaper that she wouldn't feel safe, whether in well-healed Chelsea or down-at-heel Hackney.

Such openness from a New Labour minister is as rare as it is refreshing. She was asked a direct question and she answered it directly, without the normal prevarication.

But after the interview the familiar New Labour spin came back to the fore. One of Ms Smith's aides called the journalist who had interviewed her to 'clarify' the Home Secretary's remarks.

Apparently London is not as dangerous as the Home Secretary seemed to suggest.

We are led to believe that just recently, Ms Smith went out after dark to buy a kebab in Peckham.

I'm not familiar enough with the capital to know which is more dangerous, Peckham or the kebab.

I can't help contrasting Ms Smith's remarks with those of another Labour female politician on the subject of walking the streets at night.

At a meeting of Kirklees Council a few months ago a speaker said it was not safe for women to walk the streets of Deighton after dark.

Clr Jean Calvert who, as mayor of the council is supposed to remain neutral in meetings, could not bear this slight against her own Ashbrow ward.

She indignantly told the speaker that she often walked around Sheepridge after dark and never felt under any threat. There was real anger in her voice, a feeling that her part of Huddersfield was being unfairly stereotyped as rough.

It was good to see that she cared.

CAPTION(S):

INDIGNANT MAYOR : Ashbrow's Clr Jean Calvert
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2008
Words:284
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