With all the dramatic votes this week, it could easily have been missed that an important debate about immigration also took place in the chamber on Monday, on the government’s new proposals to limit immigration after Britain leaves the EU. Pulling no punches was the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, who used a speech to pour scorn on the fact that people who earned under £30,000 would be classed as unskilled under the new proposals, and therefore would find it more difficult to emigrate to the UK.
But it was Phillips’ remarks about her colleagues in the House of Commons that caught Mr Steerpike’s attention. Pointing out that she knew a number of people in her constituency who earned less than £30,000 but were still incredibly skilled and hard-working, Phillips compared them to some of the people in the Commons that she had met since being elected, who she couldn’t quite say the same of…
‘Perversely, since I was elected I have met many people who earn way more than £30,000 and have literally no discernible skills, not even one. I met none before—I thought I had met posh people before I came here, but I had actually just met people who eat olives. I had no idea of how posh a person could be. Waitrose is apparently not the marker for being really, really posh. There is a lovely Waitrose in Birmingham Hall Green; it is the one I like to frequent.’
Who ever could she mean?
‘I have not necessarily met such people in this place, although there is a smattering. I would not let some of those very rich people who earn huge amounts of money hold my pint if I had to go and vote while in the bar, because they would almost certainly do it wrong.’
Watch the whole thing here: