Council leader criticises ‘inflammatory’ MEP comments about ‘wealthy’ Islington

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council - Credit: Archant

The leader of Islington Council has criticised a UKIP MEP’s claims that Islington is a “wealthy area”.

Cllr Richard Watts responded to Stephen Woolfe’s Newsnight comments that tower blocks for asylum seekers should be built in “wealthy areas” like Islington, Hampstead and Highgate.

Mr Woolfe, who appeared on the BBC show on Wednesday, had said: “There is a wealth divide between those who advocate more asylum seekers who tend to be in London in areas like Islington who are very wealthy. The poorest people in this country are having to take the largest burden of this and I find that part unacceptable.”

But Cllr Watts told the Gazette this afternoon: “Dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric is exactly what you would expect from UKIP.

“I’d like to invite Mr Woolfe to join me for a tour of Islington. He might find out that we are one of the most deprived boroughs with the highest levels of child poverty.”

He added that the council works hard to “make things better” and comments like Mr Woolfe’s “don’t help”.

Cllr Watts said the borough is the 14th most deprived area in the country, with the fourth highest level of child poverty.