MINISTERS’ deliberate use of hostile anti-immigrant rhetoric has fulled a rise in hate crime, civil rights group Liberty head Martha Spurrier warned yesterday.
Tory Prime Minister Theresa May is now reaping what she’s sown, having used divisive language during her six-year tenure as home secretary, Ms Spurrier said.
More than 6,000 alleged hate crime incidents were reported to police in the four weeks from the middle of June as the right-dominated official EU In and Out camps competed to bash immigrants the most.
The daily rate peaked at 289 on June 25, the day after the result to leave the EU was announced.
“Over the last five years, the Tory government have openly said that they would create a hostile environment for immigrants,” said Ms Spurrier.
“Their own language, their own policy, is called ‘hostile environment.’ They make no bones about it.
“Yet, when they see it pay off in a rise in hate crime, they then say: ‘What they really don’t want is this hostile environment.’ The language is really telling. You reap what you sow.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has denied that the government’s refusal to guarantee the post-Brexit status of three million EU nationals living in Britain was a factor in the upsurge of hate crime.
Last year, Ms May claimed it is “impossible to build a cohesive society” with high levels of immigration.
She also introduced a £200 annual “immigrant health surcharge” for those with work visas that pay tax, which means they pay twice for healthcare.
But when she visited Polish capital Warsaw last week, she condemned “shameful and despicable” attacks on Poles in Britain, who have been some of the targets of hate crime.
In 2013, then shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Tories of using “the language of the National Front” after Ms May began a billboard campaign that told illegal immigrants: “Go home or face arrest.”
Tory former cabinet member Baroness Warsi has warned that mainstream politicians are responsible for fuelling a wave of “respectable racism” due to the tone of the Brexit and London mayoral campaigns.