The Labour MP, who serves as shadow minister for international development, was responding on BBC Question Time to the home secretary’s divisive speech on migration which caused outrage earlier this week.
She also used her platform to take aim at the number of people in the UK who are born “to foreign-born mothers” while also suggesting British services were being overstretched.
But Nandy wholeheartedly disagreed with Braverman’s sentiment – and claimed the “one cause” of the UK’s problems is the Tory government.
The Labour MP began: “I grew up in the 1980s in the shadow of Enoch Powell with an Indian-born dad and British-born mum.
“When I heard our home secretary standing up this week talking about the children of ‘foreign-born mothers’, it took me right back to that era, when families like ours were constantly under attack from Tory politicians being told that we were the problem facing Britain.”
Nandy grew up in Manchester, and has been the MP for Wigan since 2010. This week’s Question Time took place in Sale, Greater Manchester.
She continued: “And I would just say to politicians like Suella, it was a gift to grow up in this city, that has been shaped by waves of immigration over many centuries and has always provided a warm welcome to refugees fleeing persecution.
″It was a gift to grow up amongst friends who were black, who were white, who were from all sorts of ethnic minority backgrounds, and we never even noticed because it was just so normal.”
She said these friendships “told a different story about the story of country that we could be”.
The shadow minister claimed that she would tell the government, if their fear is about people integrating and not speaking English, “why are you cutting English language classes so that there are huge waiting lists in every part of this country?”
Language schools and community groups reported waiting lists stretching into the thousands last June.
Nandy also asked, if the government is concerned about people fleeing persecution, war and climate change, why did it “abolish” the department for international development?
This department – which Nandy described as “one of the best things this country has ever been able to give to the world” – was dissolved in September 2020 and subsumed into the Foreign Office.
Nandy continued: “If you are worried about the future of this country and people being able to have enough houses to live in, why is your housebuilding programme falling off a cliff and why have presided over the loss of houses including social housing stock over 13 consecutive years?”
The MP added, if the government are concerns about asylum seekers in hotels, “why aren’t you processing asylum claims and getting a grip on the asylum system?”
Nandy concluded: “The problem facing this country is not people like me, or this lady here, or our inability to understand one another.
“The problems facing this country have one cause and one cause alone: politicians like Suella Braverman and this Tory government.”