Brexiteer home secretary Priti Patel has admitted that her parents might not have been allowed in the UK under the post-Brexit immigration rules she has proposed.
Radio presenter Nick Ferrari was interviewing the home secretary on LBC when he suggested that her parents would have been prevented from arriving in the UK under the new immigration system.
Explaining his own immigrant links, he told the politician: “The side of my family on my father’s side were in catering, so I don’t know if I would actually be in this country under these rules. Would you, with your parents?”
“This isn’t about my background or my parents,” insisted Patel, whose parents arrived in the UK in the 60s from Uganda to set up a newsagents shortly before Idi Amin expelled Ugandan Asians from the country.
“But it is interesting,” said Ferrari. “Would they have qualified? Your parents, I understand, came from Uganda and were very successful in setting up newsagents. They wouldn’t have qualified would they?”
Patel, however pointed out it was a “different system” for a different era. “Don’t forget this is a points-based system based on the labour market.”
The presenter did not let it drop – he pointed out that Patel would not have been in the UK if her system had applied back then.
Accepting the point, Patel tried to suggest that the system was moving with the times.
She said: “Yeah, but also let’s not forget we are not changing our approach to refugees and asylum seekers, which is very different to a points-based system for employment and that particular route.”
She continued: “The policies are changing. This is the point. We are changing our immigration policy to one that’s fit for purpose for our economy, based on skills.
“This is not about refugees and asylum and people being persecuted around the world. We must differentiate between the two.”