UK MP Virendra Sharma has condemned the Tory-led government's illegal immigration campaign as "right wing 'dog whistle' politics of the worst kind". Following the recent sighting of the Home office billboard vans in King Street, Southall, that carry the message 'Go Home or Face Arrest', Sharma, a Jalandhar native, who represents Ealing Southall segment in the UK parliament, has expressed deep concern about the campaign that he says has "racist overtones".
Also, the appearance of the UK Border Agency officers outside the Southall station and in the Town Centre stopping residents on August 1 and checking on their immigration status had angered him and locals, said Sharma, in a press statement issued here on Wednesday.
He said, "The campaign has very little to do with catching illegal immigrants and is all about engaging in Lynton Crosby-inspired right wing 'dog whistle' politics of the worst kind in the run up to the local, European and general elections to make the Tories look tough on immigration."
"There is ample intelligence for the Home Office not to have to engage in publicity stunts like these in order to catch illegal immigrants. This is heavy-handed, crass and blatantly political and I am deeply concerned. The van billboard message has racist overtones and along with the stops outside the station creates a climate of fear and division," Sharma alleged.
"Many of my constituents have complained about the UKBA checks and they and I are very angry about what appears to be racial profiling. By making checks on local residents entering the station, it makes the whole population suspects. I have lived in this country for over 45 years and as a proud British citizen, I am incensed by what is being done. This is not the British way and is more akin to apartheid South Africa than modern multicultural Britain," he said.