After hearing Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announce her plan to ask every business to publish which proportion of their workforce were foreigners, Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak) decided to give the Government a helping hand with their new policy. He asked every Government department to declare how many non-UK nationals they had in their workforce and what proportion of their workforce that represents. Amazingly, not a single department has been willing or able to provide such details.
Since the “name and shame” policy announcement made at the Conservative Party conference, a number of Conservative Ministers, including the Home Secretary herself, have been furiously backtracking. Business leaders did not welcome the prospect of further restrictions on highly skilled migration, especially as a number of changes were already announced earlier this year. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, was eventually forced to deny the announcement was ever Government policy during her most recent PMQs.
Steve McCabe and his Labour colleagues are concerned about the Government’s divisive rhetoric on immigration and have challenged the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to end their dog whistle politics. They have repeatedly called for the Government to change their callous approach, starting with a clarification that those EU citizens already living and working in the UK will have their legal status protected.
Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said:
“Following the Home Secretary’s policy announcement at the Conservative Party Conference, I decided to give the Government a hand by asking each of its department how many non-UK nationals they have working for them. To my surprise, none of the eighteen Ministers I questioned have been willing to provide me with even a rough estimate. No wonder the Home Secretary is having second thoughts.”
“In my opinion, the Government has to put an end to the division and hostility that has come to characterise their approach to Brexit. I recognise legitimate concerns about immigration and that millions voted Leave because they are worried about the free movement of people. I’m also a supporter of fair immigration controls but these dog whistle stunts only embolden the xenophobes and set out to misrepresent the concerns of ordinary people. A bit of openness, perhaps starting with government departments, is required and a bit of honesty about the impact of immigration policies on businesses and other peoples’ jobs is desperately needed.”