'An issue people are concerned about' - Liz Truss says Enoch Powell had 'a point' on immigration

'An issue people are concerned about' - Liz Truss says Enoch Powell had 'a point' on immigration

Liz Truss says Enoch Powell had a point about immigration

Steven Edginton

By Steven Edginton

Published: 23/04/2024

- 08:50

Updated: 23/04/2024

- 11:05

In an exclusive chat with our reporter Stephen Edginton, the former prime minister said immigration concerns are ignored by the establishment

In an exclusive sit down with GB News, Liz Truss has said “there was a point there” in relation to Enoch Powell’s anti-immigration views, though condemned how he expressed himself.

When asked about Enoch Powell’s famous Rivers of Blood speech, the former prime minister told GB News: “I don't think the way he said it was right, but I do think he highlighted an issue that people are concerned about, and I think it is an issue on which the establishment, the political elite, the M25 class have been out of touch with the public on.”

Truss continued: “When I go canvassing in Norfolk, it is an issue that is raised on the doorstep with me all the time, and a lot of people are concerned that they feel if they raise this issue, that somehow they'll be accused of being racist or it's not acceptable for them to say that. And I think that's a problem.”

“Politicians have to listen to the public, and we can't just brush stuff under the carpet if it is not acceptable in London dinner party circles, so I think there was a point there.”

Liz Truss Enoch Powell

Liz Truss has said Enoch Powell 'highlighted an issue that concerned people'

GB News

Enoch Powell’s 1968 speech on the dangers of immigration was later dubbed the “Rivers of Blood” speech due to his reference to a classical poem, Virgil's Aeneid.

Powell famously said: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.”

The former conservative MP caused a political uproar due to his heightened rhetoric.

Powell quoted a constituent who was concerned about the increase in the immigrant population in Britain.

\u200bMigrants aboard a small boatMigrants aboard a small boatPA

The constituent told Powell, who repeated the phrase in his speech, "In this country in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man".

Powell continued: “Here is a decent, ordinary fellow Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that the country will not be worth living in for his children.”

“I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else.”

Powell said Britain must be “literally mad” to be “permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependents” and warned: “It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre”.

In 2022 a record net 745,000 people came to Britain; net migration was higher in that year than in the years between 1964 and 2000 combined.

Since 2018 more than 100,000 people have also entered Britain illegally via channel crossings.

Provisional channel migrant numbers show a 24% increase in the number of crossings in small boats between January and 21 April this year compared to the same period in 2023.

6,265 people arrived in small boats in that period, representing a blow to Rishi Sunak who repeatedly promised to “Stop the Boats”.

In his 1968 speech Enoch Powell warned that by 2000 “approximately one-tenth of the whole population” will be made up of immigrants and their descendants.

Powell continued: “Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population.”

Official census data shows that in 2001 87.5% of those in England and Wales were white British.

By 2021 the white British population declined to 74.4%.

Liz Truss said she was not concerned about this demographic change, telling GB News: “I do not care about the colour of people’s skin, I’m with Martin Luther King, I care about the content of people’s character and their talents and attributes.”

“What I am worried about is, it’s too hard to start a family now, particularly in Britain.”

“Housing is too, childcare is too expensive, we haven’t deregulated, we haven’t done things to the housing system we should have done to make it easier to build homes and to make it easier for people to live cheaply,” the former prime minister said.

“What I care about is that the people who live in Britain, and the people we allow to enter Britain, share our values.”

“And that is what is so worrying about the protests we’ve seen on the streets, is that there are people there who are promoting an ideology which is completely contrary to the values that founded western civilisation; free speech, democracy, a belief in individual liberty.”

She continued: “I do think we need to reduce the level of legal migration, make sure there is proper integration taking place.”

You may like