The UK’s new Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, has dropped US radio talk host Michael Savage from a list of people barred from entering the country. Meanwhile, ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is complaining that she wasn’t properly trained for the ministerial post.
According to the Sunday Mail in London, Home Secretary Alan Johnson is scrapping his predecessor’s list of 16 people branded as “least wanted” and banned from entering the United Kingdom. The list made public in May by then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had included Savage along with 15 terrorists, hate-preachers and neo-Nazis.
Savage subsequently sued Smith and the British government for 100,000 pounds ($164,930) for defamation and sought help from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to clear his name.
It appears Savage is now free to enter the UK, should he choose to do so, but he’s still waiting for official confirmation. “I am cautiously optimistic that right will prevail and my name will be removed from their list of murderers and terrorists. As of now it is only a press report. I am waiting to see an official statement from the British Government. In the interim, I want to thank all those who have been supporting me,” Savage said in a statement emailed to RBR/TVBR.
How Savage came to be on the list is still a bit of a mystery. His daily show is syndicated throughout the US by Talk Radio Network, but is not broadcast in the UK. In fact, he was virtually unknown in Britain – that is, until Smith thrust him into the public spotlight.
Smith was recently pushed out of the UK government. In an interview published Friday (7/19) in the Daily Mirror, the former school teacher complained that she should have been given more training when she was elevated to a ministerial job. A Member of Parliament since 1997, the Labour Party MP rose through a succession of increasingly important jobs in the Tony Blair government and became the first woman to serve as Home Secretary when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister and reshuffled the Cabinet in 2007.
“When I became Home Secretary I’d never run a major organization. I hope I did a good job, but if I did it was more by luck than by any kind of development of skills,” she was quoted in the Mirror as saying recently.