US shock jock Savage targeted ‘to balance least wanted list’
Disgrace to humanity:Â The expense scandal has rockedÂ parliamentarians from all political stripes, who have been shown billing taxpayers for everything from horse manure to bogus home loan payments. She is gone now, but “Baroness” Warsi is still there, along with Gordon Brown and Jack the Straw…
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Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has suffered a major setback in her legal battle with American ‘shock jock’ Michael Savage after her officials were accused of banning him from the country on racial grounds.
Emails written by Home Office officials privately acknowledged the ban on Mr Savage would provide ‘balance’ to a list dominated by Muslims – and linked the decision to Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
The officials admitted their action could look ‘duplicitous’ and cited his ‘homophobia’ as a reason the move would receive public support.
The Right-wing radio presenter, whose hardline views on Islam, rape and autism have caused outrage in the US but whose show, The Savage Nation, has eight million listeners, was identified in May by Ms Smith as one of 16 people barred due to their political views.
Mr Savage, who had not even applied for entry to Britain, claimed his name had been ‘plucked out of a hat’ because he was ‘controversial and white’. He has since served a Â£100,000 libel writ on Ms Smith, who announced his ban on television.
Now, correspondence released under Freedom of Information legislation suggests the banning of Mr Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner, was based on a party political calculation made at the highest level of Government.
One message, sent by an unidentified Home Office official on November 27 last year, said that ‘with Weiner, I can understand that disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases’.
The documents include a draft recommendation, marked ‘Restricted’, saying: ‘We will want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists.’
A further email confirmed the decision was approved at the highest level of Government, saying: ‘HO [Home Office] intend to include Weiner in their quarterly stats… Both the FS [Foreign Secretary] and PM [Prime Minister] are firmly behind listing and naming such people.’
One civil servant, again unnamed, counselled caution, saying: ‘I think we could be accused of duplicity in naming him’ – without explaining why – and even added that ‘the fact that he is homophobic does help’.
The Home Office refused to say whether names on the banned list had been selected to provide political ‘balance’, adding that any legal proceedings would be ‘robustly defended’.
A spokesman said the DJ ‘was excluded for engaging in unacceptable behaviour by making comments that might provoke others to serious criminal acts’.