Keir Starmer hits back at BBC host for ‘too many foreigners’ question

PUBLISHED: 11:48 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 27 January 2020

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer has criticised a question from a BBC presenter about whether there were ‘too many foreigners’ in Britain.

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BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nicky Campbell was asking Sir Keir about Labour's need to win back more socially conservative voters to win an election.

As Boris Johnson prepared to unveil a new immigration system, he pressed Sir Keir on his thoughts.

"Is it racist to say there are too many foreigners in Britain?" he asked.

But Starmer, who is on his first day back in the campaign after four days spent with his mother-in-law after she had a "very bad accident", criticised the line of questioning.

"Can I just say how uncomfortable I am about that just at the moment.

"We've just spent four days in intensive care with my mother-in-law where there are people of every nationality giving her the most incredible care.

"And therefore pitching this debate in that way I think is... just got to be very very careful."

But the presenter carried on with his line of questioning, insisting it was a "massive debate in this country".

Starmer replied: "Of course it is, of course it is, but I want people in this country to be able to work in other countries.

"And I want people in other countries to be able to come and work here, and they bring a lot with them when they do.

"Equally I've never seen a problem with people coming here to study, or our students to go and study elsewhere, or people to live together as families."

The shadow Brexit secretary returned to the campaign trail earlier after a "very very difficult few days".

On his mother-in-law he said that her condition remains "awful".

"She's still in intensive care and it's been very very hard for my wife and her family. [A] very very difficult few days for us."

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