Sunday 22 April 2018 / 11:42 AM Dawn Butler / Women and Equalities

Baroness Warsi likens Theresa May’s Government to Enoch Powell

The Conservatives’ most senior Muslim woman Sayeeda Warsi has likened Theresa May’s Government to Enoch Powell with its ‘hostile environment’ for migrants.

Speaking about the Windrush scandal on the Peston programme on ITV this morning, Baroness Warsi said: “At a time when we’re looking back 50 years to those divisive comments by Enoch Powell, that was a moment of shame and I think the Windrush tragedy is another moment of shame.”

Talking about the Go Homes vans, the former Conservative co-chair said “privately I was appalled…This sense of ‘going home’, my parents’ generation lived with this fear. I remember growing up the 70s and Mum and Dad would often say there will come a time when we will be asked to leave, we would be asked to go home, and I would just simply laugh at this suggestion.”

Criticising her Party’s immigration policy, she described an “unhealthy obsession with numbers”, saying: “We were wedded to unrealistic targets, targets we still haven’t met a decade on, and yet we continue to remain wedded to these targets. And we ended up with an attitude of indifference to what could have been the unintended consequences that we’re now seeing.”

Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister, said:

“The Tories’ most senior Muslim woman saying what they’re doing now has echoes of Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech ought to send a chill through Downing Street and the Home Office.

“This was a moment of devastating honesty from Sayeeda Warsi and she should be congratulated for her bravery in speaking out.

“The Windrush scandal, caused by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’, points to something rotten at the heart of Government. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary should listen to the harrowing stories emerging from people affected and their families, and to Baroness Warsi, and change course.”