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LABOUR accused Ukip by-election candidate Mark Reckless yesterday of spouting policy “straight out of the last BNP manifesto,” as tensions reached boiling point ahead of today’s vote in Rochester and Strood.
When asked whether a Polish plumber whose children were at local schools should be allowed to stay, the Tory defector told a TV hustings: “We should probably allow people who are currently here to have a work permit at least for a fixed period.
“People who have been here a long time and integrated in that way, I think we’d want to look sympathetically at.”
The comments were greeted by audience jeering.
Labour candidate Naushabah Khan then said: “My family are migrants, are we going to say they need to go back as well?”
And shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that Mr Reckless had “let the mask slip.
“It’s a policy that comes straight out of the last BNP manifesto and does not reflect British values.
“Be it Mark Reckless talking about repatriation, council candidates who attack Lenny Henry for the colour of his skin, or party thugs who overturn other parties’ street stalls, nasty views are not far below the surface.”
But in a farcical twist Mr Reckless turned fire on the Tories for a leaflet which blamed “uncontrolled immigration” for making people feel it was unsafe to walk down their streets.
“I call on the Conservatives to disassociate themselves from this BNP-lite campaign,” he said.
A Ukip spokesman clarified: “It is absolutely not our policy to round up EU migrants and put them on a boat at Dover and send them back to wherever they came from.”
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