26 Jun 2016

Warsi condemns ‘divisive and xenophobic’ Brexit campaign

The Conservative peer Baroness Warsi is warning that immigrants and their descendants are being targeted on the streets following the vote to withdraw from the EU.

Baroness Warsi, a former minister and co-chair of the Conservative Party, said she wanted Leave campaign leaders “to come out and say that the campaigning was divisive and was xenophobic and give a commitment that future campaigning and the way that they intend to run this country will be united, will make people from all backgrounds feel like they belong”.

She told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News: “I’ve spent most of the weekend talking to organisations, individuals and activists who work in the area of race hate crime, who monitor hate crime, and they have shown some really disturbing early results from people being stopped in the street and saying ‘Look, we voted Leave, it’s time for you to leave’.

“And they are saying this to individuals and families who have been here for three, four, five generations.

“The atmosphere on the street is not good. This is what I said before the campaign – that long after the political bus moves on we leave problems on our street.”

‘Lies and hate’

Baroness Warsi switched sides during the referendum campaign from Leave to Remain because she said “lies and hate” were being spread by pro-Brexit politicians.

Her comments coincide with reported incidents in which Poles appear to have been targeted that are being investigated by police.

Cards saying “Leave the EU, no more Polish vermin” were reported to have been found outside schools in Huntingdon, while there were claims that the words “Go home” were smeared over a Polish community centre in west London. Police said they were investigating the claims.

Baroness Warsi said it was “important for politicians to come out right now, talk about the vision that they have for the country, a united country, and then take that forward for a positive vision of this country which is both stable and secure”.