London : British Premier Gordon Brown has come under stinging attack from Keith Vaz, a senior ethnic Indian member of his own Labour party, for his slogan of ‘British jobs for British workers’.
Vaz, who is chairman of the home affairs parliamentary select committee, described Brown’s controversial slogan as “employment apartheid” and said it risked fuelling racism.
Speaking at a parliamentary debate he said the slogan raised false hopes and implied foreigners were “stealing jobs”.
“I worry about this statement, it lacks credible arguments and some have suggested that it appears to amount to little more than employment apartheid,” Vaz said in a strongly worded speech Tuesday night.
He added: “It assumes that foreign workers are somehow stealing jobs from UK workers, an idea for which there is absolutely no evidence. It also raises the question, how do you ensure jobs are going to British people and what do you classify as British?”
Vaz, a former Europe minister, continued: “Hopes are falsely raised whenever ‘British jobs’ are mentioned. Every position that is filled will require justification and an account kept of how many British jobs there are.
“This country has, over the last century, entered many agreements with European and Commonwealth countries which means that it is rightly obligated to give jobs to people on merit.”
Vaz also said he was horrified at the “rise in racist comments about eastern Europeans”, adding: “I am concerned that ideas such as ‘British jobs for British people’ may worsen this situation.”
Brown was earlier attacked over the same issue by leader of the opposition David Cameron, who accused the prime minister of borrowing the slogan from the leaflets of the openly racist National Front and British National Party.
But Immigration Minister Liam Byrne hit back saying: “The argument about British jobs for British workers is important but it is not simply a debate about migration. It is indeed a much wider debate about joblessness in the UK.”