Fears about immigration are ‘racist’, says Conservative minister Anna Soubry

 

Some people who raise concerns about immigration are “frankly racist”, a Conservative minister said yesterday.

In remarks which were immediately disowned by Downing Street, Anna Soubry, a defence minister, said that while most people understood that immigrants played a “hugely important” role in Britain others had “prejudices”. She cited her own constituency in Nottinghamshire which she said “didn’t have a problem with immigrants” to suggest some voters were using the issue as an excuse to express intolerance.

“People who come and see me in my surgery say, ‘I’m really worried about immigration’. You say ‘Really, why? We don’t have a problem with immigrants.’

“When you explain all that to them they get it. Not all of it. Some people have prejudices, some people are frankly racist, but there are many who just don’t know the argument.”

While not referring to Ms Soubry’s comment directly Downing Street quickly moved to distance itself from her position. A Tory source said: “We understand people have legitimate concerns about immigration.”

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