Immigrants must integrate - PM
Tony Blair is to make an appeal to local health chiefs to back his NHS reforms.The "duty" of immigrants to integrate must be reasserted in response to recent challenges to British values, the Prime Minister will say.
Tony Blair will use a Downing Street lecture to set out a series of "practical and symbolic" measures as part of efforts to find a "sensible" solution.
A national row over multiculturalism was sparked by the suspension earlier this year of a Muslim teaching assistant who refused to remove her veil in the classroom.
Mr Blair backed that decision - saying the veil was a "mark of separation" that made people of other ethnic backgrounds feel uncomfortable. It was also a visible symbol of the wider debate about the way the 1.8 million-strong Muslim community integrates into British society, he suggested.
But Downing Street indicated that he was keen to set out how he believed "the right balance can be struck between integration and diversity". He will say: "The right to be in a multi-cultural society was always implicitly balanced by a duty to integrate, to be part of Britain, to be British and Asian, British and black, British and white.
"It is not that we need to dispense with multicultural Britain. On the contrary we should continue celebrating it.
" But it was important "to re-assert the duty to integrate, to stress what we hold in common and to say: these are the shared boundaries within which we all are obliged to live, precisely in order to preserve our right to our own different faiths, races and creeds."
The event at Number 10 is being hosted by the Runnymede Trust, an educational charity whose aim is to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain