British voters who helped secure this summer’s historic Brexit victory were swayed by racist tendencies, Diane Abbott has claimed in an outrageous tirade.
The Shadow Health Secretary slammed the 17 million people who voted Leave in an attempt to secure the country’s borders and increase its economic reach as racist at the Labour Party conference.Jeremy Corbyn’s close ally was blasted by Westminster colleagues and accused of “sneering” at the country’s voters – who secured a decisive 52 to 48 per cent referendum victory this June.
She said: “The people that complain about the freedom of movement will not be satisfied because what they really want is to see less foreign-looking people on their streets.”
The thinly-veiled accusation of widespread racism left a sour taste in the mouth of many MPs, who said she was willingly missing the point.Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “What Diane Abbott and the Labour Party need to appreciate is that those most vulnerable to the next wave of uncontrolled migration competing for the same scarce resources in overcrowded inner-city areas is not me, not her and not Jeremy Corbyn.”
Ms Abbott, as well as dismissing millions of voters as racist, was criticised for ignoring the British public’s legitimate concerns about migration both before and after this summer’s EU referendum.Jacob Rees-Mogg, a tireless Brexit campaigner and Tory MP, said: “Essentially the Labour Party does not like its own voters and sneers at their fair-minded concerns over mass migration.”
One week before the referendum, an Ipsos MORI poll revealed one-in-three people identified immigration as the most important issue affecting how they would vote.
However, despite this and other polls revealing very real fears among millions of people, Ms Abbott, the Labour Party and the EU continue to ignore the legitimacy of such concerns.Even in the immediate aftermath of the result, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker claimed immigration hadn’t played a role in the historic vote.
He said: “Cameron was making the point that the referendum was mainly about migration and immigration.
“I don’t believe this is the case because this problem is a problem which concerns all of us.”
Ms Abbott has since denied she was calling all Brexit voters racist.
She said: “I know many people I like and respect who voted for Brexit for reasons to do with sovereignty. What I mean is… is that ever since the Brexit vote we have seen a rise in racist attacks. Some very horrible attacks and not just on Eastern Europeans but on anybody who is black or brown.
“And this has given rise to fear and concern and we have to be aware of this and we have to say Brexit means a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean giving permission to racially abuse other people.”