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Tory immigration policy driven by uncharitable instincts

The party’s political allies in Europe are "embarrassment", "quite nutty"

24th December 2010: Launching a scathing attack on the Tory immigration policy, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Office minister has asserted it is "driven by uncharitable instincts" and the party’s political allies in Europe are "an embarrassment", and are "quite nutty".

The disclosures came on the fourth and final day of The Daily Telegraph investigation into the true feelings of senior Lib Dems towards the Coalition.

It is now apparent that foreign office minister Jeremy Browne believes Tories are ‘very harsh’ on Immigration.

An undercover reporter posing as a supporter in Jeremy Browne’s Taunton Deane constituency was told: "The Tories had a very harsh, in my view, immigration policy.

"That’s not to say I think that there shouldn’t be, you know, a level of immigration which can’t be assimilated in society – I’m not in favour of letting rip and letting everyone in – I think we need to have a proper, functioning policy.

"But the Conservative one I thought was driven by quite a lot of uncharitable instincts.

"I think, with the involvement of the Lib Dems plus the more liberal-minded Tories, we’ll end up with a policy which is more enlightened."

On being about David Cameron’s decision to ally his party with some far-right parties in Europe, Browne said: "They [the parties] are quite nutty and that’s an embarrassment to them."

He added the Lib Dems were "punching above our weight". The assertion is being linked to the Conservatives’ decision to leave the coalition of centre-Right political parties in the European Parliament in 2009.

They, instead, they joined the European Conservatives and Reformists, a coalition of small nationalist parties led by Michal Kaminski, a Polish politician accused of anti-Semitism.

Considered a rising star in the coalition, Browne said running the country with the Conservatives was "uncomfortable". But added his party was bound to the coalition because if it pulled out, "we’d never be in Government again".

He said: "The government’s policy on Europe, because I’m a foreign office minister… is seen as far more amenable and civilised than the European Parliament would have expected.

“I mean, I had a breakfast meeting about three weeks ago with the Danish ambassador, the Swedish ambassador, you know, I can’t… these Scandinavian types, and they said: ‘We’re so pleasantly surprised that the British Government is so much more co-operative and amenable than we had anticipated. Why is that?’

“And I said I think partly it’s because the Lib Dems are in government.”

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