Friday, 22 March 2013

Vaz accuses Clegg of race to the bottom

I was all prepared to polish my off-centre analysis of the budget when I was hit by this news item: which obviously takes precedence. It is worrying when the leader of the Liberal Democrats is praised by the Express over immigration. The reaction of Keith Vaz (Labour chair of the home affairs select committee) was to warn against an arms race over immigration. It is seriously worrying when a senior Labour figure implies a racist motive on the part of a senior LibDem.

The proposal for a £1,000 visa deposit can only be a "dog-whistle" appeal to racist voters, because it would be ineffective. It will not deter economic migrants, who will either be able to save that amount over the period for which the visa is valid. Moreover, it will deter genuine visitors, such as relatives on a possibly once-in-a-lifetime attendance at a christening, wedding or funeral.

In Nick's favour, it should be said that this is a coalition policy, not an attempt to make LibDem policy on the hoof. But one wonders why he was made the front man for it. Is it the price paid for bringing forward the rise to £10,000 in the personal allowance?

Caron Lindsay has more.

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