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27/04/07
Livingstone: Stop Treating Visitors as if They're All Illegals
- Mayor says he's received loads of complaints about Heathrow immigration staff

Livingstone: Stop Treating Visitors as if TheyKEN LIVINGSTONE has had a pop at Heathrow airport's immigration officials for being rude to Asian visitors.

"Whenever I'm in India or China, again and again the complaint is that they have big business people coming through the airport being treated as though they are going to sneak off and do a bit of cockle picking or something," said the London Mayor.

"We should stop treating them as though they're potentially all illegal immigrants."

The Mayor made his remarks in front of an audience of both London and international mover-and-shaker types, at a conference to discuss ways of keeping London at the head of the pack of business-friendly cities.

"London is on a tremendous high edging ahead of New York as a centre of international finance, winning the 2012 Olympics Games," said Livingstone, but warned of "the strengthening challenge from Asian competitors", which might well treat its Asian business travellers with more respect.

The Mayor's comments on rude officials were met with firm rebuttals from the union representing the immigration staff concerned.

"I think they will be alarmed, disturbed and disgusted that Ken's made this generalisation," said Mark Hammond of the Public and Commercial Services Union.



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