Home Secretary’s Speech Described As Xenophobic

In her début Conservative Conference appearance as the Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Home Department Amber Rudd spoke at length regarding immigration and, amongst other things, revealed that British employers could be forced by law to publish the proportion of “international” staff that they employ in a move which would “name and shame” businesses which are failing to employ British citizens.

The speech has been received with immense hostility by other political parties and has been described by some as “toxic” and “xenophobic“.

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham, said: “The tone of the Conservative conference has become increasingly xenophobic. Theresa May has presided over the return of the Nasty Party. Whether it’s doctors, migrants or Europe, the Tories are blaming anyone but themselves for their failure. The idea of British companies producing lists of foreign workers runs counter to everything that this country has ever stood for. It would be divisive, discriminatory and risks creating real hostility in workplaces and communities.”

Similarly, the SNP, Green Party and Plaid Cymru issued a joint statement describing Ms Rudd’s announcements as the “most toxic rhetoric on immigration seen from any government in living memory“.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn said: “Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities and try to blame foreigners for their own failures. Drawing up lists of foreign workers won’t stop unscrupulous employers undercutting wages in Britain. Shutting the door to international students won’t pay young people’s tuition fee debts, and ditching doctors from abroad won’t cut NHS waiting lists. The Conservatives will instead foster division and discrimination in our workplaces and communities. Once again, they are making false promises on immigration they can’t deliver. Instead of turning people against each other, ministers should take action now to deal with the real impact of migration. They should stop the abuse of migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions, which would reduce numbers. They should support communities with high levels of migration and they should set out a positive agenda for fair migration rules as part of the Brexit negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union.

Article 1 is concerned about the tone of the speech as well as some of the “facts” asserted in the speech. By way of example, the Home Secretary implied that people or groups have voiced support for honour based killing when she said “I am not interested in people using cultural differences as an excuse, telling us that so-called honour based violence is something not to be interfered with. This is the United Kingdom. It has an unequivocal rule of law. If you want to live here, you abide by it. No matter where you come from“. However, Article 1 notes that the Home Secretary did not name the people or groups who allegedly support “honour” based violence. Article 1 is not aware of any evidence to support the allegation that any proportion of migrants in the UK, however small, “support” “honour” based violence.

For formal legal advice on how the proposed changes to the law set out in the Home Secretary’s speech may impact upon you or your business contact us and speak to one of our immigration lawyers.