The offending item is apparently targeted at former Conservative voters who have defected to UKIP, or are considering doing so. The key section reads:
“Most people I know here have worked hard their lives, played by the rules and paid their fair share, but we sometimes struggle to access the services we need because of uncontrolled immigration. Others don’t feel safe walking down the high street of our town.”
Two senior Tory MPs tell me that some of their colleagues, asked to stuff the leaflet into envelopes or to deliver it, have complained about it – or at least about the second sentence.
The first one’s allegation strikes me as plausible in principle – since the scale of EU immigration undoubtedly is causing real pressure on public services in parts of the country – though debatable in practice, since the suggestion that it is happening in Rochester is doubtless open to dispute.
The second isn’t a claim about fact but about how people in the constituency feel. They presumably feel many things – including, in some cases, unsafe.
What has got those unhappy Conservative MPs going is the suggestion that local people feel unsafe because of uncontrolled immigration – since the two sentences are juxtaposed – and the further suggestion that they are right to feel that way. (Or else why mention it at all?)
In short, they think that the leaflet suggests that immigrants are more prone to commit crimes than non-immigrants – and, more practicably, that the Party discredits itself campaigning as UKIP-lite.
Mark Wallace wrote on this site earlier today about Tory campaigning allegations that local property prices will fall if UKIP wins on Thursday – “I mean, seriously?” (he wrote) “Is this the pitch?” He also reported discontent in the Parliamentary Party about jibes against Mark Reckless’s background.
P.S: If immigration is uncontrolled, who’s responsible for this?