It appears that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is making an early bid to become the next Ukip Leader, so crass and offensive are his remarks about using our European friends and neighbours as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.
The notion that those who have come here from Europe, who contribute to our economy, pay taxes to fund our public services and play an integral role in our communities, are to be used as some ace up Liam Fox’s sleeve is utterly dehumanising and he should withdraw the remarks immediately.
This is a government intent on scrapping our human rights framework and now they’re playing a reckless game of poker with the rights of EU citizens who have made a life for themselves here. It should be opposed across the political spectrum.
Taken together with the Home Secretary’s plans to force businesses to disclose the ‘British and non-British’ makeup of their workforces, it’s clear that this government is feeding a far right, anti-European sentiment.
The chilling rhetoric from this Conservative Party conference will provide succour to those preying on intolerance in communities across Britain. Those in positions of influence like Liam Fox and Amber Rudd should dispel that sense and provide firm guarantees that Europeans living on these islands will not be treated like second class citizen.
Margaret Ritchie MP, SDLP, South Down