While campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union (EU) yesterday, the Labour Party’s Shadow Europe Minister claimed she met a “horrible racist” who was concerned about mass migration from the EU.
“The very first person I come to was a horrible racist. I’m never coming back to wherever this is,” ranted Pat Glass about the small, rural parish of Sawley in Derbyshire.
Mrs. Glass told BBC Radio Derby that the concerned citizen had described some Polish migrants as “scroungers” — a phrase which she evidently disapproved of.
Immigration is the top electoral concern for roughly half of those due to vote in the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU; labeling anyone who raises the issue as “bigoted” is unlikely to help the Remain campaign win them over.
In a swiftly released statement, Mrs. Glass backtracked:
“The comments I made were inappropriate and I regret them. Concerns about immigration are entirely valid and it’s important that politicians engage with them. I apologise to the people living in Sawley for any offence I have caused.”
— Pat Glass (@PatGlassMP) February 27, 2016
The incident is reminiscent of Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown dismissing lifelong Labour supporter Gillian Duffy as “some bigoted woman” for mentioning mass migration from Poland ahead of the 2010 General Election.
The comment was held up to be emblematic of the liberal-left and Labour’s apathy towards the white working class, and was widely credited with helping ensure the party lost the 2010 election.
— ruth pritchard (@carve04) May 19, 2016
This week, Gillian Duffy told BBC Newsnight that she would be supporting Brexit. She said the EU was “far too large for itself” and the English are “losing [their] identity.”
“The money that’s being wasted every year – it’s probably trillions. We never seem to get anything back,” she said.
Adding: “We’ll never get England back to how it was. But I love being in England and I don’t want to be a European.”