Vaz flays UK Defence Secretary for remarks against immigrants

Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz has criticised Defence Secretary Michael Fallon for his comments that British towns are being "swamped" by immigrants, saying it was "nasty and inappropriate" and wrongly depicted the country as intolerant.

PTI| Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 00:07 AM IST

London: Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz has criticised Defence Secretary Michael Fallon for his comments that British towns are being "swamped" by immigrants, saying it was "nasty and inappropriate" and wrongly depicted the country as intolerant.

"When discussing immigration, using words like 'swamping' are wrong, nasty and inappropriate and such comments are a result of the current 'arms race' to be seen as tough on immigration.

"We need to conduct this serious debate on immigration in a calm and grown up way. Words like 'swamping' carry connotations and a tone which is deeply unhelpful and polarising," Vaz, Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said in a statement. ?

He said, "Senior Cabinet Ministers should do well to fully understand the issues before using words and phrases which do not advance this discussion, and indeed may cause offence and show our country as being intolerant which we are not."

During a recent TV interview, Fallon had said parts of Britain are "under siege" from immigration, prompting the government to look at ways to stem the number of EU workers arriving in the country.

"In some areas of the UK, down the east coast, towns do feel under siege, (with) large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits," Fallon said.

He was responding to a question about German Chancellor Angela Merkel's declaration that she would not back the UK's bid to change the rules ? a major blow to David Cameron.

"The Germans haven't seen our proposals yet and we haven't seen our proposals yet, and that's still being worked on at the moment to see what we can do to prevent whole towns and communities being swamped by huge numbers of migrants," Fallon had said.