One of the men running for the UKIP leadership has come up with an, erm, novel idea for reducing the UK’s population.
John Rees-Evans allegedly suggested that British people with dual nationalities, such as British Indians and Tanzanians, should be paid up to £9,000 to leave the UK.
In a video shared by the Mirror, Rees-Evans is seen at a meeting in Leigh, Greater Manchester, explaining why he wants to cut the UK’s foreign aid budget. He claimed that most financial aid to developing countries currently “ends up in offshore bank accounts” belonging to “the wives of most of these leaders in Africa”, and proposed cutting the budget from over £13billion a year to just £1bn a year.
The UKIP leadership candidate goes on to say that he would use the “saving of £12.3bn a year” to pay British dual-nationals to return to their other country of origin, a move which he said would help reduce net migration to under 1 million a year.
“In order to qualify they need to have residency in another country, or be capable of proving that they are able to obtain that residency in another country… And we will pay £6,000 up front [and] a further £3,000 once the programme is complete, for every man, woman and child,” he said.
On Twitter, the response to Rees-Evans’ suggestion that dual-nationals ‘go home’ was as scathing as you might expect.
“Must book that train ticket back to Derby,” joked Aisha Gill, a professor of criminology at the University of Roehampton. She added: “Dear John Rees-Evans, go home?! Your racist bile is not welcome. Here to stay.”
The Labour MP David Lammy retaliated to Rees-Evans’ comments in a similar vein.
Others pointed out that it was problematic for white Brits to ask British Indians to ‘go home’, given the violent history of the British Empire in India.
200 years of British rule in India. 200 yrs of looting, plundering. Turn back time n undo all that then talk about sending Indians 'home'— sk (@sk1897) August 20, 2017
Several white Brits suggested that they should claim to have heritage in other European countries to make the most of Rees-Evans’ policy.
“If I can trace my ancestors to Spain or Scandinavia will this f***wit pay me to go and live there as well?” asked @HippoGriffinus.
“Belize or the Almalfi?” suggested Tammy Allman. “I’m sure we have relatives in Corsica too?”
“Might try tracing mine to the Maldives or maybe a private island in the Mediterranean,” said Polly Smith, adding: “I’ll let you know once I’ve done the trace. Maybe even Madagascar…”
Rees-Evans, who is currently the fourth favourite for the party leadership, has denied that he specifically singled out British Indians in his policy proposal, writing on Twitter than he “cannot yet remember meeting one I didn’t like”.
However, other politicians - including some of his rivals in the race for the UKIP top job - have condemned his comments. Jane Collins, UKIP’s MEP, said that the policy was similar to the British National Party’s 2010 manifesto, which called for up to 180,000 people a year to be paid to leave the country.
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake agreed that Rees-Evans was “openly copying the gutter politics of the BNP”.
He told the Guardian: “This is implicitly telling dual-nationals, who have made Britain their home, that they’re not welcome and should be encouraged to leave the country. At a time when far-right nationalism is on the rise in the US, we need to make absolutely clear that this toxic brand of politics has no place in Britain.”
Images: Rex Features