A pro-EU peer has said the UK needs immigration because native Britons are “bloody stupid”, provoking a backlash from Eurosceptics and the right-wing press.
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who co-wrote Article 50, said Britain needed “an injection of intelligent people from outside”, and claimed the Leave campaign won the referendum only by “cleverly outsourcing xenophobia and racism”.
Speaking at an event organised by the Institute for Government, Lord Kerr said: “In my view, immigration is the thing that keeps this country running.
"We native Brits are so bloody stupid that we need an injection of intelligent people, young people from outside who come in and wake us up from time to time.
“It’s completely true that the Leave campaign, by cleverly outsourcing the xenophobia and the racism to the Farage campaign, were able to salve their consciences it seems by pinning [David] Cameron to the fact that we would only take back control when we left.
”But supposing we did stop all the immigration from the EU, we would not have met Mr Cameron’s target – he would have done a lot of damage to the country if he had met it, but it was in his power to meet it by stopping immigration from outside the EU.
"So the premise of the argument about immigration was false."
In response to the remarks, Eurosceptic Tory MP Peter Lilley walked out of the event, and said he had considered reporting the peer to police for hate speech and being “racially abusive of the British people”.
Speaking to Mail Online, Mr Lilley said Lord Kerr’s comments showed “contempt for the British people” and accused the peer of “profound stupidity”.
“I think these comments revealed the contempt that some Eurocrats like Lord Kerr have for ordinary British people. They think they are there to rule the country and hugely resent any interference by the electorate," he said.
“To say the British people are stupid and then to suggest that housing has nothing to do with immigration displays such profound stupidity that one wonders why he lectures other people.
"It is particularly odd coming from a man who is racially abusive of British people."
Also quick to lambast Lord Kerr was LBC radio presenter Nick Ferrari.
Mr Ferrari, who has been accused of making a racist comments in the past, said on his radio show: "It might be worth realising, Lord Kerr, that the salary you drew down, the pension from which I imagine you currently benefit, the embassies in which you lived, possibly the education that was afforded to your children if you have any ... guess who funded all of those, Lord Kerr. Have a guess.
“That would be those bloody stupid native Brits through their taxation. I know you see this as a little more than serfs, like some sort of feudal system. But guess what? It's not actually like this."Reuse content