Labour-minstere møter krav om etterforskning i forbindelse med at tidligere rådgiver for Blair-regjeringen, Andrew Neather, hevder at Labour bevisst åpnet grensene for masseinnvandring for å gjøre Storbritannia mer multikulturelt og for enklere å kunne portrettere De konservative (Toriene) som rasister.
A former Labour adviser alleged that the Government opened up Britain’s borders in part to try to humiliate Right-wing opponents of immigration.
The Conservatives said that if true, the claim demonstrated ‘disgracefully irresponsible’ decision-making and called for an investigation.
Befolkningsfremskrivninger viser at befolkningen i Storbritannia vil øke med hele 10 millioner innen 20 år, og hovedpådriver av befolkningsveksten er innvandring og innvandreres fødselsrater.
Tidligere Labour-minister og formann i den tverrpolitiske gruppen Balansert immigrasjon, Frank Field, sier han er målløs ved tanken på at mennesker mente at de kunne utsette en nasjon for sosial ingeniørkunst på et slikt grunnlag.
He [Neather, som arbeidet for statsminister Tony Blair og justisminister jack Straw] said Labour’s relaxation of immigration controls in 2000 was a deliberate attempt to engineer a ‘truly multicultural’ country and plug gaps in the jobs market.
He said the ‘major shift’ in immigration policy was inspired by a 2001 policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think-tank based in the Cabinet Office.
Civil servant Jonathan Portes, who wrote the immigration report, was a speechwriter for Gordon Brown and is now an aide to Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.
The report painted a rosy picture of mass immigration, stating: ‘There is little evidence that native workers are harmed by migration. The broader fiscal impact is likely to be positive because a greater proportion of migrants are of working age and migrants have higher average wages than natives.’
It added: ‘Most British regard immigration as having a positive effect on British culture.’
Mr Neather said the published version of the report focused on the labour market case for immigration. But he added: ‘Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.’
Home Office Minister Barbara Roche, who pioneered the open-door policy, was also said to have wanted to restore her reputation on the Left of the Labour Party. She had come under fire for attacking the use of children for begging by asylum seekers as ‘vile’.
Labour-ministere skal ha vært motvillige til å diskutere saken offentlig på grunn av frykt for at deres innvandringspolitikk skulle støte vekk Labours kjernevelgere i den britiske arbeiderklassen:
‘I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date,’ Mr Neather added.
Labour strategists went on to attack Tory leaders William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard as out of touch when they raised questions about immigration policy.
Mr Hague was accused of ‘playing the race card’ in 2001 when he said Mr Blair was turning Britain into a ‘foreign land’.
Mr Howard was called a ‘racist’ in 2004 after he went to the BNP stronghold of Burnley to denounce Labour’s stance on asylum seekers.
Mr Neather defended the open-door policy, saying mass immigration had ‘enriched’ Britain.
But Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green said: ‘If this is true, then it would be a disgracefully irresponsible way for a government to run their immigration policy.
‘To organise it on the basis of what might embarrass the Opposition would be shameful. I would urge the Home Affairs Select Committee to look at this whole episode.
‘And ministers must now be honest with the British people. Do they still believe, as they did five years ago, that uncontrolled immigration is good for the country?
‘If they don’t, will they apologise for the mess they have made of the immigration system in the meantime?’
Jack Straw avviser Neather’s påstander som usanne. En talsmann for justisministeren sier at påstandene er latterlige og at «beviset for dette er det faktum at Straw nylig introduserte og implementerte nye innstramninger i forhold til innvandrings- og asylpolitikken, hvilket har blitt kraftig fordømt av alle liberalere».
‘It is so dangerous that I cannot believe anybody even contemplated this course of action,’ he said.
‘I can’t believe anybody could have been this stupid. All along anyone who raised questions was told they must be racist.
‘Ministers used studies like the one saying only 13,000 people would come from the EU accession countries to say we had all got our figures wrong.
‘Even now people are peddling the idea that it’s all over-exaggerated. The truth is that, without any changes, we are headed for a population of 70million within 20 years.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Our new flexible points-based system gives us greater control of those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain needs can come.
‘Britain’s borders are stronger than ever before and we are rolling out ID cards for foreign nationals.
‘We have introduced civil penalties for those employing illegal workers and from the end of next year our electronic border system will monitor 95 per cent of journeys in and out of the UK.
‘The British people can be confident that immigration is under control.’