UK political parties spar over nationalism, migrants deaths

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2015 00:37 IST

The Conservative party was on Friday accused of stoking English nationalism with its promise of ensuring “English votes for English laws”, while Labour leader Ed Miliband partly blamed PM David Cameron for the recent death of Libyan migrants at sea.

Cut-and-thrust campaigning moved up a notch as HSBC — Britain’s largest bank — said it was reviewing whether to move its headquarters out of London in view of the anti-European Union atmosphere generated by the UK Independence and Conservative parties.

Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said, “HSBC is just the latest in a long line of companies warning of the dangers of a re-elected Tory government taking Britain out of the European Union. The big risk to our economy over the next few years is EU exit.”

As opinion polls continued to suggest major gains for the Scottish National Party in Scotland, Cameron played on sentiments in England (533 seats) that the Scots will acquire much influence in the House of Commons.

He said proposals for “English votes for English laws” would be in place for the first budget if his party wins, which will prevent Scottish MPs from voting on laws applicable to England and other parts of UK. He went on to pledge an “English rate of income tax”.

Miliband piled on criticism over Cameron’s foreign policy, saying he had failed to stand by Libya, which had contributed in part to the migrants crisis. Cameron called his comments “ill-judged”, while deputy PM and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg said any suggestion of “political point-scoring” on a “total human tragedy” was “pretty distasteful”.

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