Blears in row over immigrants
By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:45am BST 12/06/2007
Hazel Blears, the Labour party chairman, was accused yesterday of stereotyping immigrants by suggesting the public associated them with “street drinking” and anti-social behaviour.
In the latest row to emerge from Labour's deputy leadership contest, Miss Blears also warned that people in her Salford constituency were worried about immigrants “undercutting wages” and not abiding by health and safety legislation.
But the remarks met with a strong rebuke from both the Conservatives and from Jon Cruddas, one of five other candidates now bidding to be Gordon Brown's number two. Mr Cruddas, the only backbench MP in the race, effectively rebuked the Labour chairman for stigmatising immigrants while David Davis, the shadow home secretary, accused her of being “wholly irresponsible”.
Yesterday, in an interview in the Independent on Sunday, Miss Blears said: ''We have got areas in Salford where private landlords are letting properties with 10 and 12 people in there. Now, the community doesn't object to the people – they object to the exploitation and the fact that that leads to people being on the street drinking, anti-social behaviour.
''They don't object to the people being there, but they object if they are undercutting wages and not getting the national minimum wage and they are not abiding by health and safety, so you have got to enforce the law.”
Mr Davis said: “It is wholly irresponsible for ministers of the Crown to stereotype any group in society.”