Tyson cleared to enter Britain

Politicians, women's groups are outraged by decision

Boxing

May 19, 2000|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

LONDON - There's nothing like a decision going Mike Tyson's way to spark political controversy in Britain.

Yesterday, Britain's top law-enforcement official, Home Secretary Jack Straw, cleared Tyson to enter the country for an expected June24 bout against Lou Savarese in Glasgow.

Scottish politicians and women's rights groups were outraged by the ruling to allow Tyson, a convicted rapist, into Britain for the second time in six months.

The controversy was even used by pro-independence-minded Scottish politicians who said their parliament should control who does, and does not enter, their patch of Britain."It's absolutely disgraceful. Jack Straw is a bigger disgrace than Mike Tyson," said Dorothy-Grace Elder, a member of Scotland's year-old local parliament, told reporters.

But Straw, citing "exceptional circumstances," again paved the way for Tyson's proposed visit to Britain just as he did before Tyson's victory over Julius Francis in January in Manchester. Those who have served a year or more in prison are normally barred from entering Britain."I am fully aware of the strong opinions which have been expressed on Mr. Tyson's application, especially in Scotland, as I was when this matter last came before me in January," Straw said. "It is, however, my responsibility to make decisions of this kind as fairly and impartially as I can, and that is what I have sought to do."

Straw said Tyson was allowed in for a single visit of three weeks.

A former member of Britain's Labor government, Harriet Harman, criticized Straw."Anybody else with a rape conviction would not be allowed in," she said.

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