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Row over migrants

world Updated: Nov 04, 2007 23:06 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
Row over migrants

The backlash against immigration into Britain touched a new high recently when a conservative MP recalled the late, unlamented Enoch Powell's views on the subject and claimed the latter had been perfectly right.

Nearly 40 years ago, Powell, another Conservative MP, had declared that 'rivers of blood' would flow one day if Britain persisted with the liberal immigration policy it was then pursuing. He was in disgrace thereafter, but his observation that migrants would change the face of the country has haunted people here ever since.

Writing in the Wolverhampton Express and the Star newspaper, Nigel Hastilow claimed Britain's policies amounted to "rolling out the red carpet for foreigners while leaving the locals to fend for themselves". "When you ask people what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration. Many insist Enoch Powell was right," he added.

Officially all parties have reacted with disdain. Labour has asked the Tories not to consider Hastilow's candidature for future elections.

The Tory chairman, Caroline Spelman, it is learnt has summoned him to explain what he had written. But many MPs unofficially supported him.

Indeed such is the sentiment in the country that even Prime Minister Gordon Brown has added an immigration bill, seeking to restrict entry of certain categories of migrants, to the list of new measures to be mentioned the Queen's speech later this week.