An influential Croydon businessman, who is one of the new intake of Tory MPs at Westminster, wants Britain to turn its back on our European neighbours, including Poland, Italy and Greece, in favour of encouraging more curry cooks into the country from the Indian sub-continent.
Paul Scully is a founder of Nudge Factory, a Croydon-based PR agency.
Although oddly coy about who they work for – “A full list of our current clients is available on request”, their website states – the Keeley Road-based agency has conducted extensive work recently for Westfield, the developers behind the £1billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre. Presumably, if Scully gets his way, the new Hammersfield super-mall won’t include any Greek restaurants, or have any lively Italian tavernas, nor need the services Polish builders or plumbers.
Scully was elected as Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam at the General Election in May. Since his election, Scully has become non-executive chairman of Nudge Factory, which remains at the heart of the Croydon business Establishment.
This week, as chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on the curry catering industry (yeah, they have one of those – anything for the chance of some free grub), Scully called for a Brexit – an exit from the European Union – to enable Britain’s curry houses to be able to encourage more skilled chefs to this country from southern Asia.
When Scully’s remarks were reported, they drew a speedy response on social media from Steve O’Connell, the Kenley councillor who is seeking re-election next May as the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton. “That settles it,” O’Connell wrote on Twitter – perhaps throwing a dollop of sarcasm into the balti Brexit debate.
Speaking in a Commons debate on immigration, Scully had said: “Leaving the EU would give us more flexibility to control our borders and tackle some of the unintended consequences of immigration from outside the EU. Things such as the curry industry — bringing curry chefs over — might benefit.”
Having made various promises on immigration to appease the right-wing of the Conservative Party and the electoral threat from UKIP, David Cameron’s Government has imposed stricter conditions on entering Britain for those coming from outside the EU.
Scully’s feeble reasoning for leaving the European Union was backed up by one of his Tory coleagues, Anne Main: “It seems rather perverse that a poor Polish immigrant can walk into this country and take up any vacancy they find in any industry, including the hospitality industry or a curry restaurant, even though they might not have the relevant skills, while a poor, skilled Bangladeshi chef is not able to do that because the bar is set so high.”
It took a Labour MP, Steve McCabe, to offer some commonsense in response to Scully’s not-so-bright idea: “If we cannot train people as balti chefs and curry chefs in this day and age, there is something badly wrong with our skills training in this country.” Quite.
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