London: The Pakistani origin co-chairperson of Britain`s ruling Conservative Party has criticised her government`s new immigration policy, terming it "racist".
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, while pleading with her cabinet colleagues to drop the new policy, warned that it would be seen as a "racist" policy when they discussed curbs on migrants bringing family members to live with them in Britain, reports the Daily Times.
The row exploded when Home Secretary Theresa May proposed that UK citizens earning less than GBP 40,000 should not be allowed to bring in a foreign wife or husband, according to a report.
Warsi, the first Muslim woman to sit in the cabinet, warned that such a policy would amount to a "whites only" entry rule, with family members living in Punjab having no chance of getting to this country.
May was forced to back down and announced a much lower income threshold of 18,600 pounds last week, with a further 2,200 pounds for each child.
"Saeeda does feel passionately about this issue. She fought her corner very strongly. Other ministers took what she was saying very seriously," a source said.
Another cabinet dispute over immigration looms over a plan to exclude foreign students from the official figures. This is being floated by David Willetts, the Conservative universities minister, and Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, who are said to be arguing that students should not be counted because the vast majority only stay in Britain temporarily.
The move would boost David Cameron`s prospects of meeting his pledge to reduce net migration to under 100,000 a year. It is currently running at 250,000. But it is being opposed by the British Home Office.