Theresa May claims that a second EU referendum would threaten the social cohesion of the UK – something she values so highly that when she was Home Secretary she did her best to destroy it with poisonous rhetoric about immigration.
When many Leave voters walked into the polling booths in June 2016 Theresa May’s views on immigration – outlined in her speech as Home Secretary at the 2015 Tory Party Conference – may well have been ringing in their ears.
Immigrants were to blame for pressure on public services, she said.
Migration pushes down wages, she said.
Unemployment and the housing crisis were direct consequences of immigration, she said.
“Millions” of people wanted to migrate to the UK, she warned.
And she specifically attacked the EU’s rules on freedom of movement.
It was a hateful speech that created a culture of fear around immigration. An unease that the disingenuous Leave campaign tapped into with glee.
If anyone thinks Theresa May lost the plot and any concept of reality with Brexit, they should go back and revisit this speech.
It flew in the face of economic analysis which extolled the benefits of migration. It blamed migrants for poverty that was simply the result of government policy – such as cutting tax credits for the lowest paid or removing benefits for job seekers.
The truth is that much of the hate and division so prevalent in society over the last two and a half years can be traced back to Theresa May.
The Prime Minister has single-handedly done more to damage social cohesion in Britain than a second referendum – a transparent democratic process – ever could.