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Fury over UK Labour MP's 'most immigrants are fruit pickers, potato diggers' comments

June 9, 2011 - Washington

Labour MP Glenda Jackson has been criticised for suggesting that migrants were mostly engaged in 'picking strawberries' and 'digging up potatoes'.

The Oscar-winning actress made her comments in a clash with Chris Grayling, the Work and Pensions minister.

He had said that many migrants had snapped up UK jobs because millions of Britons were on benefits, but Jackson opposed the statement by calling it flawed.

"You put all those people into that box and as far as the people out there are concerned, migrant workers do something like picking strawberries, digging up potatoes. It's temporary and they tend to be students," the Daily Mail quoted her, as saying.

Jackson's comments were, however, condemned by opposition MPs.

Nadhim Zahawi, an Iraqi-born Conservative MP, said he was stunned that Jackson could be so ignorant.

"If a Conservative MP had said those things, they would have been sacked from the government or had the whip withdrawn," he added.

Insisting that he was born in Britain, but never worked as a strawberry picker, Zahawi said: "David Cameron would not tolerate such comments, and neither should Ed Miliband."

George Eustice, a Tory MP and former strawberry farmer, said that Jackson's comments were 'incredibly ignorant'.

"I worked on a strawberry farm for ten years. There was a mix of workers, some of them foreign, but many of them British," Eustice added.


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