Labour peer and former child refugee Alf Dubbs has criticised the rhetoric of home secretary Priti Patel.
Earlier in the week the former MP, born in Prague in 1932, defeated Patel in the House of Lords with his amendments to the minister’s immigration bill.
Speaking to the New Statesman, Dubbs said he despised the atmosphere left by the EU referendum, saying it was at odds with the values of Europe and what the UK will eventually become.
He explained: “Recently there has been a very nasty atmosphere, which I think was engendered from the Brexit referendum. It has poisoned the climate in this country.
“We’re going to be a multiracial, multi-faith society. Europe is going to be like that, most of the world’s going to be like that, and I think we have to find a way of making that represent our values.”
And he has claimed that Patel has fostered some of that anger with her attacks on migrants and refugees.
“Priti Patel has been absolutely shocking.
“These comments also result in nasty things happening locally […] If we alienate ‘the other’, they will be threatened. It divides our society, and has a divisive effect on our sense of community.
“The only way we can cope with the world as it is, is by having a sense of our society and our community altogether. I think that her comments are so hostile and quite unworthy of a British home secretary. It is a tragedy.”
And he claimed that the rhetoric was a “shabby way of getting heard and in a curious way, uniting much of the Tory party”.
He added: “I’m not even sure some of the Brexiteers believe in Brexit. If they do now, I’m not sure they did then. I expect Dominic Cummings is a bit behind this as well. Clearly his ministers are not as much in charge as previous ministers were.”