The knives are out as the referendum to decide Britain’s future in EU nears. Priti Patel MP, Prime Minister David Cameron’s protégé and the Indian diaspora champion, accused her ‘party leaders’ of living in luxury to feel the heat of immigration….reports Asian Lite News
But the No 10 said the Brexit camp is trying to deviate voters’ attention from real issues. “This is a transparent attempt to distract from the fact that the overwhelming majority of economists and businesses believe leaving the single market would be disastrous for jobs, prices and opportunities for people,” they said in a statement.
Priti in an article for the Telegraph said “leading pro-Europeans” do not care about the effects of mass migration on working families because they are so rich.
Priti Patel claims the “luxury” lifestyles of campaigners who want to stay in the EU mean they are “insulated” from the impact of rising immigration on the daily lives of millions of Britons.
She says it is “shameful” that the Remain campaign leaders fail to consider the struggles of families who, unlike them, cannot afford private health care or fee-paying schools.
In another development, Boris Johnson MP and Michael Gove MP said Cameron must accept the failure of the government’s manifesto pledge to reduce migration into the UK.
Gove and Johnson said the pledge was “corrosive of public trust” while Britain remained in the EU.
But Number 10 said their claim was an “attempt to distract” from the fact that a Brexit would be “disastrous”.
In an open letter to Mr Cameron, published in the Sunday Times, Mr Gove and Mr Johnson said the migration pledge had become unachievable.
They said: “Voters were promised repeatedly at elections that net migration could be cut to tens of thousands.
“This promise is plainly not achievable as long as the UK is a member of the EU and the failure to keep it is corrosive of public trust in politics.”
They also said they were “particularly concerned about the impact of free movement in the future on public services”.
“Class sizes will raise and waiting lists will lengthen if we don’t tackle free movement,” they wrote.
Priti against PM
Although Priti does not directly name Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne in her article, she repeatedly makes clear she is aiming her criticism at the “leaders” of the Remain campaign, who include the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.
Priti claims many Remain campaigners only see the benefits of migration, such as cheap domestic help and willing tradesmen. But the Conservatives will never be able to honour their election promise to cut migration because it is impossible to control the border while Britain is in the EU, she says.
“It’s shameful that those leading the pro-EU campaign fail to care for those who do not have their advantages,” Priti said in the article. “Their narrow self-interest fails to pay due regard to the interests of the wider public.”
Her comments will be seen as sign of how the campaign is becoming increasingly personal. Both Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne come from wealthy backgrounds and attended independent schools.
Migration policy is a critical battleground in the referendum and is widely seen as the most potent weapon in the Leave campaign’s armoury, in part because the Government has failed to meet its target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands”. Figures last week showed net migration – the difference between the numbers arriving and leaving Britain – stood at 333,000 last year. A record 184,000 more EU migrants entered the country than left during 2015.
“For the millions of Britons who feel the consequences every day, this rate of growth cannot continue,” Pritiwrites in her article. “For many of those arguing for Remain, the day-to-day consequences of this loss of control are pretty much all gain and no pain: inexpensive domestic help, willing tradesmen and convenient, cheap travel.
“So when Remain campaigners talk about the economy, they don’t think about working people’s personal finances – the potential hit to their pay packets. If you have private wealth or if you work for Goldman Sachs you’ll be fine. But when public services are under pressure, it is those people who do not have the luxury of being able to afford the alternatives who are most vulnerable.
“Getting your child a place in your local school becomes more and more difficult; there is more competition for jobs; wages are held down.”
Meanwhile, former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major criticised the Vote Leave campaign in the Mail on Sunday.
He wrote: “As the referendum vote comes nearer, I again ask the senior figures of Vote Leave to correct the inaccuracies and falsehoods they are peddling to the British people.”
He said the Leave campaign “seems more focused on raising fears than setting out facts” on immigration.
“Their cavalier exaggeration of likely immigration flows has been the most distasteful aspect of this referendum campaign,” he said.
“Vote Leave has consistently failed to tell us how they see the UK outside Europe. They have glib slogans, but no solid detail.”