Ex-Tory chancellor attacks party’s Enoch Powell politics on the EU and migrants

Ken Clarke warns that Tories have abandoned liberal principles for right-wing populism 

THE TORIES HAVE SOLD-OUT on any sympathy for the European Union and migration in favour of the more extreme views of notorious hard-right Tory firebrand Enoch Powell, according to senior Tory MP and former minister Ken Clarke.

Clarke gave a scathing address to the Westminster parliament over Tory support for Brexit, its lack of planning, and networking with foreign rightwingers, US President Donald Trump and Turkish leader Recep Erdoğan.

Addressing the Westminster Parliament during a debate on the UK Government’s Brexit Bill, which will allow the UK Government to quit the EU, Clarke said: “If he was here [Powell] he probably would find it amazing to believe that his party had become Eurosceptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant in a rather strange way in 2016. 

“Well, I’m afraid on that I haven’t followed them and I don’t intend to do so.”

“Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge in a wonderland where suddenly countries throughout the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages, and access to their markets, which previously we have never been able to achieve as part of the European Union.” Ken Clarke MP

Powell was sacked from the Tory cabinet in 1968 following his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech when he claimed black people would take over the UK, fermenting racism and bigotry at the time. 

The Tory party, since the EU referendum, has undergone a new lurch to the right against migrants and freedom of movement, making new restrictions a top priority for the Westminster government in the Brexit process. 

Clarke, mocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s trade plans, said: “What I’m told is that’s pessimistic [Clarke’s concern on UK trade plans]: ‘We’re combining this great new globalised future which offers great new futures for us.’

“Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge in a wonderland where suddenly countries throughout the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages, and access to their markets, which previously we have never been able to achieve as part of the European Union.

“Nice men like President Trump, President Erdoğan are just impatient to abandon their normal protectionism, and give us access,” he mocked. 

Clarke was speaking on the first of two days debate on the short article 50 bill on exiting the European Union, action forced on the Tory Government after losing two consecutive court cases on the manner of Brexit at the high and supreme courts. 

Brexit Minister David Davis reiterated that exit was in line with the result of the referendum in June 2016, when England and Wales voted narrowly for exit. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the EU. 

Clarke also joined with the SNP-led opposition to the bill, on the grounds of various problems eminating from the lack of a Brexit plan. 

However, as the Labour leadership has pledged not “to block” Brexit - the bill is almost certain to pass. 

It is then expected to progress to the unelected House of Lords, where the final vote is harder to predict.  

Picture courtesy of Parliament TV

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