DIANE ABBOTT accused the Tory government on Saturday of intensifying “social apartheid” in towns and cities across Britain through its punitive policies that drive down living standards.
The shadow home secretary told the Stand Up to Racism (SUtR) annual conference that government policies on public-sector spending, housing and welfare are dividing communities.
Ms Abbott, SUtR honorary president, pointed to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower as an example of the consequences of such policies.
Ms Abbott said: “We have to fight for decent social housing, we have to fight for a properly funded fire service, but above all we have to fight for justice for Grenfell.”
She pledged to put anti-racism at the heart of a Labour government’s agenda, storming: “We cannot allow the politics of hate to prevail.”
London firefighter Lucy Masoud blamed austerity measures for the blaze in which 80 people are confirmed to have died.
She said Grenfell was “a symbol of this country’s failures,” adding that MPs should be “dragged from the House of Commons to look at that building and be made to see and understand that the decisions they made have led to what took place on June 14.”
Speaking earlier in the day, Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Catherine West said the government must be defeated over its divisive policies on home affairs and immigration.
She praised the solidarity shown when Jewish people stood alongside Muslims after the Finsbury Park mosque terror attack earlier this year, with synagogues opening their doors to the shaken Muslim community.
Ms West tore into the government for its “cruelty” in attempting to block the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act which allows unaccompanied children in Calais safe passage to Britain for sanctuary and reunion with their settled relatives.
The role of SUtR and the movement outside Parliament is important in the fight against racism, she added.
“What you do strengthens the arm of MPs in challenging bigotry,” Ms West told conference.
David Rosenberg, whose family fought against Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts at Cable Street, spoke about a rise in anti-semitism. He said abusive language has changed from being about “Jews and money” to racists openly speaking about “Hitler, the Holocaust and gas ovens.”
He warned against turning a blind eye against anti-Jewish bigotry.