The speech – and the after­math

The Observer - - News -

Enoch Pow­ell, the Tory MP for Wolver­hamp­ton South West, de­liv­ered his no­to­ri­ous speech on 20 April 1968 to a party meet­ing in Birm­ing­ham, days be­fore the sec­ond read­ing of the 1968 race re­la­tions bill.

Pow­ell spoke of po­ten­tial eth­nic strife should large-scale im­mi­gra­tion con­tinue and was sacked as a front­bench spokesman by then Con­ser­va­tive leader Ed­ward Heath. How­ever, he was ap­plauded by sec­tions of the me­dia and pub­lic.

Fol­low­ing his sack­ing, thou­sands marched to Down­ing Street to show sup­port. Counter-protests were also held, with thou­sands call­ing for Pow­ell’s ar­rest. Af­ter the speech, news­pa­pers re­ported vi­o­lent and racially mo­ti­vated at­tacks on com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing in Wolver­hamp­ton.

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