Hilary Benn : Integration good but we need tolerance

Hilary Benn MP, shadow local government secretary, comments on multiculturalism in advance of a new counter-extremism strategy:

"Integration is a good thing. People living here should learn English. How can we get to know each other if we can't have a conversation? And we have to be honest that change in our communities isn't always easy to deal with.

"The reason why we succeed by and large – and the great thing about this country – is that we are decent and tolerant. That people want to come to Britain to work and contribute says a lot about the country we are, with people from different nationalities and backgrounds living alongside each other.

"The government’s proposals recognise much of this but Eric Pickles' cheap attempt to try to divide us by criticising Labour's pursuit of a fair society is unworthy of him. We should instead be standing together against extremism from whatever source – those who are really trying try to divide us one from another – because they do not represent what Britain stands for."