Oldham MP named as new immigration minister

The Greater Manchester MP at the centre of a row over Muslim women wearing a veil has been named the new immigration minister. Phil Woolas, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, prompted anger in some sections of the Muslim community two years ago when he said some people could find veils `frightening and intimidating’. And earlier this year he suggested that the practice of first-cousin marriage in Britain’s Pakistani community was leading to birth defects. Mr Woolas – who is one of Labour’s most vocal critics of the British National Party – has said his efforts to raise awareness of first-cousin marriages won support from doctors and members of the Asian community. He takes on his new Home Office job as part of the wide-ranging government reshuffle announced by Gordon Brown.

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