A US news commentator was forced to make an embarrassing apology yesterday after claiming Birmingham was a “no-go” zone for non-Muslims.
Describing Britain’s second city, Steve Emerson told Fox News: “There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in” in comments broadcast worldwide.
Less than a quarter of the city’s one million residents are Muslim, according to the latest census data from 2011.
Mr Emerson later apologised for his “terrible error” regarding “the beautiful city of Birmingham” and suggested the remarks had been down to “other sources.”
He also stated his intention to make a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
The clanger prompted lobby journalists to jokingly question a No 10 spokesman yesterday on whether the PM feels safe in Birmingham.
But David Cameron later called Mr Emerson “a complete idiot” and scoffed: “When I heard this I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool’s Day.”
The PM earlier received a “full briefing” from intelligence and security chiefs on the terrorist threat to Britain following the terror attacks at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Mr Cameron indicated that he wanted to introduce “more comprehensive” powers to monitor suspects in Britain, warning the country faces the same threat as France from “this fanatical death cult of Islamist extremist violence.”
However he played down suggestions that the terrorism threat level should be raised from its current “severe” rating, meaning an attack is “highly likely,” to “critical” which would suggest an attack is imminent.
A No 10 spokesman said it had been agreed at this morning’s meeting that future exercises to test the response of the police and security agencies to terror attacks should include scenarios similar to the incidents in Paris.
But many fear new measures could go too far.
Plans for a data communications Bill — branded a “snooper’s charter” by critics — were blocked by the Liberal Democrats, but Conservatives have signalled they will revive the legislation if they secure an overall majority in May’s general election.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will today repeat his party’s opposition to the snooper’s charter in a speech to the Journalists Charity, warning it is not “targeted, proportionate or harmless.”