No-go areas of London? There aren’t any - except maybe packed Oxford Circus on a Saturday

28 February 2024, 13:42 | Updated: 28 February 2024, 13:47

Are there really no-go areas of London?
Are there really no-go areas of London? Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Camden, Leicester Square McDonald’s after 9pm, anywhere near the Streatham LTN. Bits of Chelsea.

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These are just a few of my top ‘no-go’ areas of London. Please feel free to add any of your own.

Might as well pop Oxford Circus packed with shoppers on a Saturday on the list while I’m at it. Oh and don’t forget the Central Line these days as well.

My no-go areas are on the list because of the crowds, prices, and pollution.

But London MP and former mayoral candidate Paul Scully has suggested there are ‘no-go’ areas in parts of Tower Hamlets - making reference to parts of the city with large Muslim populations.

He said: “The point I am trying to make is if you look at parts of Tower Hamlets, for example, where there are no-go areas, parts of Birmingham Sparkhill, where there are no-go areas, mainly because of doctrine, mainly because of people using, abusing in many ways, their religion to … because it is not the doctrine of Islam, to espouse what some of these people are saying. That, I think, is the concern that needs to be addressed.”

He clarified his comments later, saying: "What I was referring to was that a few years ago you had the Muslim patrols and I think some of those protagonists themselves realise the error of their ways, and I've seen other areas where there's just been pressure upon people worrying about going about in their own area.

"I can't talk about now, I'm just talking about what I've seen and heard and the perception of people," he continued.

Mr Scully added: "If I've spoken mistakenly or created division then I apologise, but there are a handful of people who will always seek offence and there are people who come in behind that.

"This isn't about tropes. There is no doubt there are people in this country that are fearful for going out not just because of Muslim gangs but because of other gangs."

Everyone got that?

Mr Scully was also asked for any evidence Muslim gangs are operating in London, but he could not provide any.

I can’t help but wonder which part of Tower Hamlets he was referring to? Brick Lane? Shoreditch? Canary Wharf?

Call me cynical, but as he tied himself up in knots, what he really seemed to me to be trying to say was that the areas he’s talking about aren’t that welcoming for non-Muslims, which is obviously rubbish.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly parts of London that I would not want to be stranded in at 3am on a Saturday night, but calling them ‘no-go’ areas is a step too far.

Are some parts of London rough? Yes, they are. In just the same way that parts of New York are, or Paris, Marseille, Milan or most other major cities.

It has nothing to do with the religion of the inhabitants.

Lee Anderson meanwhile has claimed the public supports him over his comments about Sadiq Khan.

He insisted he did nothing wrong in saying Mr Khan was under the control of Islamists and that he had given control of London ‘to his mates’ and denied singling him out because of his religion. He insisted his opinion is that ‘he’s a useless mayor who panders to this certain section of people.”

Living in London isn’t without its problems. I’ve been here my whole life and transport delays, crime worries and pollution do definitely rankle with me.

But London’s great attraction really is in its mix of people, cultures, and religions, and the broad views, experiences, sights sounds and tastes that come with that.

I don’t think I’ll ever listen to the views of Mr Scully or Mr Anderson on what London and its mayor, or Birmingham are like.


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