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Saturday 10 March 2001

Robinson is the racist link, says civil rights group

ANNE ROBINSON, the presenter of the television quiz show The Weakest Link, is under investigation for alleged racist remarks against the Welsh.

 Ms Robinson, 57, may be questioned over comments she made on the BBC2 Comedy show Room 101. Detectives have asked the BBC for a tape of the broadcast after North Wales Police received a complaint from Cefn, a Welsh Civil Rights Group. Evidence will be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will to decide whether to charge the presenter for inciting racial hatred. 

When Ms Robinson appeared on the show she told the presenter, Paul Merton, that she would like to banish the Welsh to "Room 101", an allusion the room where Winston Smith confronts his worst fears in George Orwell's book, 1984. Ms Robinson said: "Is it quite a big container? It will have to be if I want to put the Welsh in. They are always so pleased with themselves, aren't they? I've never taken to them. What are they for?"

 A spokesman for North Wales police said: "We are investigating the matter and are liaising with the Commission for Racial Equality." A spokesman for the Commission for Racial Equality said its chairman, Gurbux Singh, had written to the BBC to request the repeat of the programme is not shown tomorrow night.

 The Welsh affairs select committee is considering summoning Robinson to the House of Commons to explain her anti-Welsh comments. But the presenter said she would appear before the committee only if it paid her the rate she gets for The Weakest Link. She said: "I'm very expensive."