Politics: Anger at Labour MP's call for ban on foreign workers
Roger Godsiff, who represents a multicultural community in the West Midlands, said voters were concerned about immigration but were often afraid to mention it for fear of being labelled racist.
He told Radio 4's Westminster Hour: "I don't believe economic migration is any longer necessary and I also don't think it's going to be good for the future of race relations in this country. I have to view it as a Member of Parliament representing a constituency which has already taken in a large number of first and second-generation immigrants who have assimilated and who have contributed a great deal to the development of the country. But enough is enough."
He said it was perverse for Britain to be "plundering" the developing world for talented workers who were needed for their home countries' development. His comments put him at odds with the Government, which has championed economic migration to address skill shortages, and provoked stinging criticism from other MPs and immigrant groups.
Mr Godsiff goes further than last week's call by Michael Howard, the Tory leader, for an annual cap on immigration. Mr Howard's decision to place the issue at the heart of Tory policy was condemned as "desperate" and "irresponsible". Mr Godsiff's view caused astonishment because 65 per cent of his constituents in Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath are from ethnic minorities.
A Home Office source said: "He speaks for no one but himself." Labour MPs were horrified. Keith Vaz, the former Europe minister, said: "He is very lucky because he got elected only because of the Asian community. Maybe he should think again about whether he wants to represent them." Barbara Roche, a former immigration minister, said: "Managed migration is a good thing for the country; it's good for us economically and it's good for us in cultural terms." Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said: "I find it shocking. I have known Roger for a long time and I would not think that was a comment he would make."
Mr Godsiff has been an MP since 1992 and held his inner-city seat with a 16,246 majority at the last election. The constituency has been riven with political in-fighting and Mr Godsiff has yet to be reselected for the election expected in May.
Last night he told The Independent that immigrants in previous decades had assimilated successfully despite the prejudice they faced. "What I'm concerned about is we have another wave of immigration, then we get to the situation where these excellent community relations, which exist in Birmingham, can be undermined." He said skills shortages should be tackled by encouraging workers to retire later.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...