Labour under fire on immigration issue

Ex-minister says party silencing people by shouting `racist’

2nd December 2009: A day after a Cabinet Minister John Denham said Labour and local councils ignored the white working-class over mass immigration, a Labour MP has initiated an attack on the party’s apparent inability to realise the voters were justified about the concerns on soaring immigration.

Former minister Tom Harris has actually blamed the party for attempting to make people quite on the issue by shouting “racist”.

Harris also launched a scathing attack on “liberal-left snobs” for apparently overlooking the fact that Britons were left worse off due to the immigrants competing for jobs, housing and public services.

Harris’s comments echo the concerns expressed by Communities Secretary Denham. He had asserted the Labour’s policies on mass migration and multi-culturalism had resulted in a feeling of insecurity and unfairness in some of the less affluent areas of Britain.

Denham had categorically stated the middle classes were "insulated" from the effects of immigration and found it hard to understand fears about housing and jobs. While "the affluent" could see opportunities in immigration, poorer communities saw it as a threat.

The assertions are being seen as a reaction to the somewhat escalating popularity of the British National Party, but come soon after former Downing Street adviser Andrew Neather said mass migration was encouraged by Labour ministers over the past decade to make the UK truly multicultural, and plug in the gaps in the labour market.

The MP for Glasgow South, Harris, on his personal website has also asserted immigration is “clearly near the top of an awful lot of people’s agenda today”.
He added “There is no point in simply responding: ‘Well, ­immigration has brought the country a lot of prosperity through extra taxes and productivity’, even though that is true.

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