"Recession leads to a rise in racism and xenophobia, but a cap on immigration is not the answer", says MP Diane Abott. 27 October 2008. MP Diane Abbott has strongly criticised the proposals to cut immigration. It follows the shock plans of Phil Woolas, Minister of State for borders and immigration, who said the number of people coming into the UK would have to be cut because of the economic crisis.
The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP described the proposals as "pernicious" claiming people didn’t distinguish between asylum seekers, economic migrants, dependents of people lawfully settled here and bona-fide British citizens who were non-white like herself.
She said it was futile for Mr Woolas to raise expectations that he could cap or somehow reverse the number of immigrants in the country as it had no power to restrict asylum seekers, the dependents of British citizens or European Union migrants.
She accused the government of doing little other than "pander to white fears " on the issue saying, since 1997, it had introduced seven pieces of legislation on immigration and nationality designed to make the system tougher.
"Mr Woolas claims that it is ‘too easy to get into this country’," she said. "Tell that to my constituents who wait years to be joined by partners or dependents, or explain that to young children detained for months in detention centres for no other crime than being the offspring of asylum seekers."