"No one has suffered more than foreigners in this country", said Liberal Democrat leader
11 December 2008. Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has been accused of scapegoating asylum seekers.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg warned Britain is fast developing a two-tier human rights regime as foreign nationals are targeted first for draconian schemes like ID cards. In a speech to Amnesty International to mark Human Rights Day, Mr Clegg last night claimed Britain has lost the moral authority on human rights and the Government is stoking the fire of ethnic tensions.
Instead, Mr Clegg called for a responsible, mature debate on immigration which recognised the contribution legal immigrants make to the economy.
Mr Clegg said: “All of us have had our rights come under attack, but no-one has suffered more than foreigners in this country.
“We have already seen the Immigration Minister swerving to the right in preparation for the next election, peddling fear and scapegoating asylum seekers for Britain’s ills.
“What does this Government think is going to happen to the already delicate ethnic tensions as we spiral further into economic downturn?
“When more jobs go, and frustrations are at a high, why are they stoking this fire?
“What makes it even worse is that this is an area where the Conservatives simply won’t be outflanked.
“My concern is that this marks the start of a kind of downward bidding – ‘we’ll let in fewer than you will’ – we can’t let this happen.
He added: “Human rights are not something you pick up one day and put down the next. They are the unwavering, unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people. They are the principles by which we can call ourselves civilised.”