01/03/2017 17:46 GMT | Updated 02/03/2017 10:59 GMT

Lord Tebbit Condemns Concern For 'Foreigners' Rather Than British Over Brexit

Tory peer speaks as Lords vote on EU citizens' right to stay.

Former Tory minister Lord Tebbit drew jeers in the House of Lords after criticising peers for being more concerned about looking after “foreigners” than British people.

The ex-MP - who famously coined the ‘cricket test’ when questioning the lack of loyalty to the England cricket team among immigrants and their children - spoke out ahead the House of Lords voting to give EU citizens living in the UK guaranteed rights under Brexit.

“If we are to be concerned about anyone’s rights after Brexit, to live anywhere on this continent of Europe, it should be our concern for the rights of British people to live freely and peacefully in those other parts of Europe,” said Tebbit, who earned the nickname the ‘Chingford skinhead’ in the 1980s when in Margaret Thatcher’s Government.

“Somehow or the other we seem to be thinking of nothing but the rights of foreigners.”

Parliament TV
Lord Tebbit: “Somehow or the other we seem to be thinking of nothing but the rights of foreigners.”

After jeers, he added: “My Lords, people of nationalities of other countries within the union are foreigners.”

And he went on: “Why is everybody here today so excited about an amendment that looks after foreigners and not the British?”

Lord Lawson, the Conservative former chancellor, who lives in France, said he would have liked to have seen the Government give an unconditional guarantee to EU nationals - but did not support the amendment.

He argues only purpose of this amendment is “virtue signalling”, and would stir up fear amongst EU nationals.

Labour was attempting to add an amendment to the Brexit bill going through the House of Lords. The amendment grants unilateral rights to both citizens of the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) once the UK has quit the 27-nation bloc in 2019.