Theresa May during her conference speech

Theresa May during her conference speech

Home Secretary Theresa May has been attacked by Jewish human rights groups after her speech at the Tory party conference in Manchester, in which she took a tough line on immigration.

Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), expressed “concern” regarding the speech. “It is essential that the Government puts forward a balanced narrative,” she said. 

“If we are to take 20,000 Syrian refugees, making people more anxious about this issue is not compatible with asking them to be welcoming. Getting ‘tough’ on those fleeing conflict and persecution is a step in the wrong direction.”

Human rights charity Rene Cassin said her speech “demonstrated a wilful ignorance of international law regarding refugees” and “peddled harmful and false myths” about the impact of immigration in the UK. 

“The Jewish community, fuelled by the personal connection to the story of asylum, should be made to feel uneasy by Theresa May’s words,” it said. “This will not solve this ‘crisis’ or help the British economy, but will actively endanger some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Meanwhile journalist Jonathan Freedland called May’s speech “an assault” on immigration that would keep centre-left voters from turning to the Tories.