The prime minister is facing fresh accusations of ‘revolting, xenophobic’ and racist dog whistling over comments he made about EU citizens living in the UK.
Boris Johnson said that Eu migrants have been able to “treat the UK as if it’s part of their own country” for far too long, while on the campaign trail yesterday.
He seemed to be echoing the core sentiment of Vote Leave’s 2016 referendum campaign, which focused on immigration.
His comments have been branded ‘dog whistle politics’ by critics on social media.
One person tweeted: “This is pure hard-right Trumpism and moderate Tories (if there are any left) shouldn’t touch it with a bargepole”.
Another added: “Johnson descends into the crudest xenophobia – calling for EU27 migrants to treated as second class citizens. Maybe Britons abroad should be treated likewise.”
Using language he hopes will appeal to undecided Eurosceptic voters in Labour marginal seats, the prime minister also said: “What we want to do is bear down on migration, particularly of unskilled workers who have no job to come to.”
“I think that’s what’s happened over the last couple of decades or more. You’ve seen quite a large number of people coming in from the whole of the EU — 580 million population — able to treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country and the problem with that is there has been no control at all,” he added.
“This is actual hate speech, is it not?” asked a third person on Twitter.
Johnson wants the UK to have an Australia-style, points-based immigration system which only welcomes ‘people of talent’. He says this will help the UK take back more control over its borders.
“‘Let’s Take Back Control’ morphs into ‘Lets Be More Racist’,” another Twitter user surmised.