Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May of pursuing the same divisive immigration tactics as Donald Trump

The Labour leader attacked the Prime Minister for failing to 'temper' her welcome to the controversial president

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Saturday 12 November 2016 14:53 GMT
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of pursuing the same divisive politics as Donald Trump by fanning the "flames of fear" over immigration.

In a speech, Mr Corbyn said both Mr Trump in the US and Ms May in the UK had blamed foreign scapegoats for their own country’s problems without offering real solutions.

The Labour leader also took a swipe at the Prime Minister for offering the President elect warm words on the morning of his shock election victory.

It follows outrage at the tactics employed by Mr Trump, who promised to build a wall to stop Mexican immigrants entering the US and an outright ban on Muslims entering the country.

Speaking at Labour’s South East Regional Conference, Mr Corbyn said Mr Trump had found an unending list of people to blame.

He said: "Instead of offering real solutions, or the resources to make them work, he offered only someone to blame. Everyone, that is, apart from those actually responsible for a broken economy and a failed political system.

"The Tories do the same. They have opened the door to UKIP and fanned the flames of fear. Theresa May, as Home Secretary, fed the idea that immigration was the real problem, made promises she knew they couldn’t deliver about slashing numbers and whipped up hate with ‘Go Home’ vans."

Theresa May on immigration in conference speech

While Home Secretary, Ms May oversaw the commissioning of a van to drive around six London boroughs, covered in a sign telling illegal inhabitants to "go home or face arrest". The idea was eventually scrapped. May herself called the idea "too blunt an instrument".

Mr Corbyn went on: "No wonder she didn’t even temper her welcome to Donald Trump. She has used the same strategy herself, if delivered with more refinement."

The Labour leader pointed out that Mr Trump had tapped into real problems including, stagnating or falling wages, underfunded public services, insecure work and housing, and "anger at a political elite that doesn’t listen".

Theresa May 'looks forward' to working with Donald Trump

He added: "We have no idea how Donald Trump proposes, as he has said, to ‘make America great again’, and Theresa May’s Tories offer slogans, but not solutions, for most people in Britain.

"We won’t tackle the damage done by elite globalisation just by leaving the EU. We won’t ‘take back control’ unless we take on the corporate vested interests that control our energy, our transport and have infiltrated our public services.

"One thing is for sure, neither billionaire Donald Trump nor the billionaire-backed Tories have any interest in giving people back control or reining in the predatory excess of a globalized free-for-all."

A Conservative spokesman said: "Jeremy Corbyn presides over a Labour Party that is divided, divisive and utterly out of step with the concerns of ordinary working people. Labour would bankrupt our country like they did last time, erode our armed forces making us less safe and they also don't think there should be any limits on immigration at all.

"Only the Conservative Party will keep our economy strong, our country safe and make a success of leaving the EU as we forge a new global role for ourselves in the world."

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