Nicola Sturgeon condemns Government’s ‘toxic’ stance on immigration

Nicola Sturgeon has said changes are needed. Picture: Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon has said changes are needed. Picture: Getty Images
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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has joined the leaders of the Green Party and Plaid Cymru to condemn the Government’s “toxic” stance on immigration.

The SNP leader signed a joint statement criticising the “divisive rhetoric” from the Tories following Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s speech announcing measures aimed at curbing the number of people coming to Britain.

The statement was also signed by the joint leaders of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, and Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru.

As well as Ms Rudd’s controversial package of measures, the Tory conference has heard Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announce plans aimed at reducing the NHS’s reliance on foreign staff and Prime Minister Theresa May insist that controls on immigration will be part of the Brexit settlement with the European Union.

The joint response, also signed by the leaders of the Green Party in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: “The countries of the United Kingdom face a spiralling political and economic crisis. At the top of the Conservative Party, the narrow vote in favour of leaving the EU has now been interpreted as the pretext for a drastic cutting of ties with Europe, which would have dire economic results - and as an excuse for the most toxic rhetoric on immigration we have seen from any government in living memory.

“This is a profoundly moral question which gets to the heart of what sort of country we think we live in. We will not tolerate the contribution of people from overseas to our NHS being called into question, or a new version of the divisive rhetoric of ‘British jobs for British workers’.

“Neither will we allow the people of these islands, no matter how they voted on June 23, to be presented as a reactionary, xenophobic mass whose only concern is somehow taking the UK back to a lost imperial age. At a time of increasing violence and tension, we will call out the actions of politicians who threaten to inflame those same things.”

The party leaders said they would work together “to resist the Tories’ toxic politics”.

Ms Lucas said: “Now more than ever it is vital that we present a real opposition to the Conservatives. This conference has seen them attempt to inflame tensions in our communities and set out a vision for a ‘hard Brexit’ that will do untold damage to the places we represent.

“By uniting we have the best chance of facing them down and protecting the people who elected us.”