Video resurfaces of IDS discussing ‘low-value people’ amid honours fury

PUBLISHED: 14:57 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:17 02 January 2020

A video of Iain Duncan Smith talking about

A video of Iain Duncan Smith talking about "low value people" when asked about migrants has re-emerged on social media. Picture: BBC

BBC

As calls grow for Iain Duncan Smith not to receive a knighthood, an interview has re-emerged from 2017, reminding people of the time he divided migrants into the worthy and people of “low value”.

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The former architect of Tory austerity was named for a knighthood in the new year's honours last week, sparking an outcry and a petition that has reached nearly a quarter of a million signatories.

On social media, users have begun sharing a two-year-old clip of an interview between Duncan Smith and broadcaster Emily Maitlis, in which he referred to some migrants to the UK as "low-value, low-skilled people".

WATCH: Backlash over knighthood for ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith

In the Newsnight interview, Duncan Smith was asked whether his plans would stop students or workers in the NHS and social care, which are experiencing shortages, from coming to work here.

Duncan Smith replied that leaving the EU would allow the UK to "control the whole of migration" and impose a work permit system that could give preferential access to "people that are adding massive value to the economy" such as financial traders, scientists, academics and software engingeers.

He continued: "The problem was, we had a huge number of very low-value, low-skilled people coming through, and these people, for the most part, were not adding value."

The video has been re-shared by a huge number of Twitter users, who were revolted by the sentiment and spoke out about their gratitude for the people singled out by Duncan Smith.

Christopher Farrelly commented: "I'd like to thank all the 'low value' migrants or as I called them 'people', who befriended me in hospital this year. We shared sweets, food, coffee in our dark hours and tiredness. Not one asked what I was worth. All asked how I was doing today.

"No human is low value."

Campaigner for EU citizens Alexandra Bulat commented: "We have a bunch of low value politicians."

Femi Oluwole, campaigner for Remain, pointed out: "I admit: it's a fine line between showing the economic benefit EU27 citizens bring to the UK, to reassure financially vulnerable Brits that immigration isn't a threat ... And simply commodifying/objectifying human beings.

"'Low-value... People' is on the wrong side of that line."

The prospect of the former work and pensions minister receiving an honour has been so offensive to some that a Labour councillor who was previously honoured opted to hand his MBE back in protest.

Mike Smith-Clare, a Labour party councillor from Great Yarmouth said he could no longer be associated with "an honours system that rewards social cruelty above social conscience".

MORE: Politician to hand back MBE in protest at Iain Duncan Smith's knighthood

The public petition against the honour, hosted on Change.org, has grown in the tens of thousands since it was launched.

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