The Coalition is facing fresh embarrassment over the issue of immigration after a senior Cabinet minister was forced to admit he employed a Portuguese cleaner.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, began to stutter and stumble during a live radio interview on Saturday after being asked if he employed immigrants. At first Mr Alexander, a Liberal Democrat, avoided the question.
Asked by Mishal Husain, the presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme, “Do you employ anyone from another country?” Mr Alexander replied: “Er, er, urm, er, erm … in the Treasury there are people from all around the world working in the, er, Treasury.”
Miss Husain then explained her question referred to Mr Alexander’s own household, not the large Government department where he works.
Pressed on whether he employed any foreigners, Mr Alexander finally responded: “Er, ar, er, er … we use a brilliant British, er … child minder and a, er… Portuguese lady occasionally comes in to clean our home.”
The employment of foreign domestic help by senior ministers has come under scrutiny after the apparent criticism of the practice by James Brokenshire, the new immigration minister. Mr Brokenshire, a Conservative, condemned a “wealthy metropolitan elite” for benefiting from the cheap services offered by immigrants. Their gain, he said last week in his first speech in the job, had been at the expense of “ordinary, hard-working people in this country”.
* * *
Observations: How nice for these government types that they can afford to hire cleaners at all. Second, it is not the Portuguese that are the real problem, it is the Muslims. But there seems to be no way to stop them.