Theresa May’s first Tory Conference as leader has addressed many issues, but none have been more controversial that their overtly divisive rhetoric and policy suggestions on immigration.
During the conference, Tory ministers suggested policies such as companies keeping registers of all foreign workers, and arguing for more controls on international students. And then there was their divisive and nonconstructive rhetoric on foreign doctors in the NHS.
Many on social media have been quick to condemn the Tories for stirring up racial divison, but some have also been asking where Jeremy Corbyn is, and why he hasn’t been vocal in denouncement of the Tories’ plans.
What some are unaware of is that traditionally there is a gentleman’s agreement between parties to ignore the goings on at each other’s party conferences.
But as soon as Theresa May had wrapped up the final conference speech, Corbyn could stands it no longer, releasing a statement that absolutely tore into the Tories’ divisive rhetoric on immigration.
The Labour leader’s words stopped just short of denouncing the Tories’ as overtly racist, saying:
Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities and try to blame foreigners for their own failures.
Drawing up lists of foreign workers won’t stop unscrupulous employers undercutting wages in Britain. Shutting the door to international students won’t pay young people’s tuition fee debts, and ditching doctors from abroad won’t cut NHS waiting lists.
The Conservatives will instead foster division and discrimination in our workplaces and communities.
Once again, they are making false promises on immigration they can’t deliver. Instead of turning people against each other, ministers should take action now to deal with the real impact of migration.
They should stop the abuse of migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions, which would reduce numbers.
They should support communities with high levels of migration and they should set out a positive agenda for fair migration rules as part of the Brexit negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union.