Tories are fanning the flames of xenophobia

The increase in hate crimes against people from other EU member states is one of the most worrying things to have emerged in the fallout from the referendum.

When you consider the racist, xenophobic refugee poster that Nigel Farage unveiled days before the poll this spike in incidents is perhaps not surprising. 

It is the responsibility of all of us to help put out the fires that senior figures in the Leave campaign unleashed. Instead, the Conservatives have chosen to throw petrol onto the flames.

Telling doctors from other countries who are here saving lives in our NHS that their position is only secure until we can rush a crop of new graduates through medical school is not responsible. Telling people from other countries who are thinking about moving here to work and pay taxes that their names might be included on a list of foreign workers is not responsible.

If we are publishing lists of foreign workers, we may as well pull up the drawbridge. These policies are not about controlling immigration. They are about demonising immigrants.

The message this sends to foreign students, medical staff, businesses and others is clear. You are not welcome here. As a liberal who has always believed that we can achieve more when we work with those around us, this does not just make me sad. It makes me incredibly angry.

The senior Conservative Party figures who are behind these policies should be ashamed of themselves. Any Tory who does not see that these ideas are fundamentally at odds with our values is part of the problem.

Liberal Democrats campaigned for a Remain vote at the referendum because we wanted to protect our ties with our friends and relatives in Europe.

We want to see another vote on the outcome of the negotiations because people who voted Leave were presented with a pack of lies by Boris Johnson and his colleagues before the ballot boxes opened. I don’t believe for a second that people who voted leave did so on the basis that their local doctor would be forced out of the country.

The Scottish Conservatives have one MP who is a Cabinet Minister and Ruth Davidson attends Cabinet too. They are every bit as responsible for these shameful announcements as the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister. 

It is now crystal clear what a vote for the Conservatives in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK means an end to openness and tolerance.

Ruth Davidson’s party would have us weak, divided and pandering on immigration. The UK can be better than this. We must be better than this.

The Liberal Democrats will oppose these dangerous proposals and stand proud in our belief that immigration benefits our culture, our economy and our communities.


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