Chuka Umunna accuses Nigel Farage of showing ‘shades of Enoch Powell’
Nigel Farage has been accused of showing “shades of Enoch Powell” for warning there could be violence on the streets if Britain remains in the EU.
Labour’s Chuka Umunna and peer Doreen Lawrence criticised the Ukip leader for arguing a vote to stay in the bloc could lead to violence stemming from rising levels of immigration.
Mr Farage told the BBC yesterday: “I think it’s legitimate to say that if people feel they have lost control completely – and we have lost control of our borders completely as members of the European Union – and if people feel that voting doesn’t change anything, then violence is the next step.
“I find it difficult to contemplate it happening here, but nothing is impossible.”
Mr Umunna, the former shadow business secretary who is pro-Remain, said Mr Farage was “letting his true colours show with shades of Enoch Powell in his latest outburst”.
“He is losing the argument and paving the way for defeat but it is the height of irresponsibility to suggest there will be violence on the streets if he doesn’t get his own narrow-minded way,” he said.
“Anyone who experienced the London riots will be disgusted to hear that Nigel Farage thinks violence is the ‘next step’ if he cannot win the argument.”
Ms Lawrence said: “At a time when the public want facts and measured debate to inform their decision on the EU referendum, he is focused on rubbishing attempts to increase diversity and suggesting there may be violence on the streets if the public don’t vote his way.
“When only 6% of MPs and peers are from ethnic minority backgrounds and almost 70% of boards of FTSE 100 companies are exclusively white, it is simply wrong to say people are ‘having their noses’ rubbed in diversity... And he should not speak lightly about seeing violence on our streets in the event of a vote to remain in the EU.”
‘RUBBING OUR NOSES’
The outcry comes after Labour peer Lord Mandelson called on Mr Farage to apologise after he claimed Labour had been “rubbing our noses in diversity”.
The two men were pitted against each other at a heated EU referendum debate hosted by the Daily Mirror, along with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.
Proceedings at the event briefly descended into a shouting match between Lord Mandelson and Mr Farage, who are long-term opponents on the issue of EU membership.
Lord Mandelson attacked the Ukip leader on his claims the UK could not control migration while in the EU.
“I don’t think Nigel’s interested in solving the problems around migration, I think he’s interested in stirring the pot in order to suit his political prejudices against the European Union,” the former European Commissioner said.
The Ukip leader hit back at the “stirring the pot” jibe by telling the peer: “You did that! You wanted to rub our noses in diversity, didn’t you Lord Mandelson?”
A furious Lord Mandelson retorted: “What is wrong with diversity? Why shouldn’t we have people of different colours…what do you mean by ‘stir the pot’ on diversity?”