Tory MP tells Scots '˜get on your bike' and work on farms
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, who backed the Leave campaign in the referendum of last year, told a fringe event at the Conservative party conference that British people need to fill roles vacated by EU workers after the end of the Article 50 process.
His comments at the event on the future of immigration after the end of free movement, hosted by members’ website ConservativeHome, were first reported by Business Insider.
He said: “I was struggling to think why wouldn’t a youngster from Glasgow without a job come down to the south to work for a farm for the summer with loads of gorgeous EU women working there?”
“What’s not to like? Get on your bike and find a job.”
The remarks have already been compared to Norman Tebbit’s infamous comments about moving within the UK for economic reasons, often quoted as the politician directly telling the unemployed to get on their bikes.
At the snap election in June, Mr Mackinlay held on to the seat that he won in 2015 by narrowly defeating then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
However controversy raged over his election expenses, and he was charged shortly before the election, with a trial set to take place in May 2018.
Labour MSP James Kelly said: “These are abhorrent and offensive comments that once again prove the Tories are the same old nasty party.
“The Tories’ reckless Brexit will hurt our economy and damage the life chances of people in Scotland and across the UK.
“Only Labour has a plan to deliver a jobs first Brexit that will protect workers’ rights and living standards.
“The Tory conference has only proved they are a government out of ideas and running out of time.”
Jenny Gilruth MSP added: “This is a sexist and patronising statement from Tory MP Craig Mackinlay who clearly does not understand the needs of our economy or the issues facing job seekers and agricultural businesses alike because of Brexit.
“Scottish farmers are facing the exact same Brexit-fuelled recruitment problems as those down south, with some even considering planting less labour-intensive crops for next season because of it.
“To suggest that the UK can slam the door shut on much-needed talent coming from the EU and solve it simply by shipping workers from Glasgow to the south of England reveals a shocking display of ignorance by this Tory MP.”