Home secretary Priti Patel has baffled Twitter by claiming she was ending freedom of movement to ‘open Britain up to the world’.
Brexiteer Patel took to Twitter as MPs voted for the second reading of her immigration bill, which intends to bring in a new framework for who can come to live here.
It paves the way for the government to introduce a new points-based system after Brexit, which is expected to favour those able to speak English to a certain standard, have a job offer from an approved employer, and meet a salary threshold of £25,600.
Patel in the Commons dismissed suggestions her scheme will punish the very key workers who have helped Britain through the coronavirus pandemic.
In a tweet sent shortly after her appearance she proclaimed:’We’re ending free movement to open Britain up to the world.
"We're killing people so that they can live."— Edwin Hayward , UK EU (@uk_domain_names) May 19, 2020
"We're feeding people meat so that they can be vegetarians."
"We're taking away cars so people can drive everywhere."
"We're raising taxes so people can keep more of their money."
Priti Patel... taking the "oxy" out of "oxymoron". https://t.co/ZBW67Ld66l
‘It will ensure people can come to our country based on what they have to offer, not where they come from.’
Her post generated more than 11,000 replies as people pointed out the irony in what she said, while others fumed about the end of benefits for those living in the UK and wanting to work and travel across the EU.
‘This is on a par with shoplifting down,’ said Nicholas Boot.
‘Something Orwellian in deciding that ‘ending free movement’ opens us up to the world’, mused Armando Iannucci.
I am truly devastated for all of you who are being stripped of your rights.— Camilla Engelby ?' (@camillaengelby) May 18, 2020
Especially in a time like this, when it is all too clear that your govt care very little about you, the people. But seem much more concerned about the interests of themselves & their rich chums. pic.twitter.com/KoeFyuirwU
‘You’re TAKING AWAY rights from Brits. It doesn’t sound nearly so impressive then, does it?’ wrote Jan Bird, before adding: ‘Only this government could sell ending ‘free movement’ as a good thing.’
Ming Ho tweeted: ‘You don’t open up country to world by cutting it off from nearest neighbours & allies. You don’t attract brightest & best by making them unwelcome, charging prohibitive amounts to do jobs your own citizens don’t want. You can’t clap frontline workers, then tell them to **** off.’
‘How many of our NHS & care worker heroes will you be ‘sending home’ after this crisis, home secretary?’ asked Piers Morgan. ‘Will they include any of the many migrants who helped save the prime minister’s life?’
Nicholas Jackson replied: ‘Don’t forget to tell people the other side of the equation. We lose our right to live, work, retire in any EU country. What advantages does that give us?’
‘What you’ve also done, @pritipatel, is to end freedom of movement for UK passport holders across our continent,’ posted Professor Brian Cox. ‘The citizens of 27 other countries, the great majority of Europeans, still retain it. That’s not something to fly our flag over in my book.’
‘I will never understand how Britain has a government that celebrates giving up their own citizen’s freedoms,’ said comedian Dara Ó Briain. ‘That’s YOUR freedom of movement they’re ending’.
Will Hutton replied: ‘Was Britain closed up until now? This is Orwellian double-speak – closure depicted as opening. Brexiters plus our rampant right wing press leading us to Dystopia.’
‘I AM A FREE I AM NOT MAN A NUMBER’ simply wrote Emma Jacobs.
Last month Patel was ridiculed for announcing that shoplifting was down during the coronavirus pandemic – at a time when most shops were closed.
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