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Cobra founder strikes ahead of UK election

Lord Karan Bilimoria, the crossbench peer and founder of Cobra beer, has hit out at the two main UK political parties ahead of the country’s general election.

Lord Karan Bilimoria has criticised the Conservative party for its tone on immigration, and Labour for its approach to business (Photo: Wiki)

He has strongly criticised what he describes as the “worrying” tone on immigration taken by the Conservative party, particularly from the Home Secretary Theresa May.

He said her actions – including trialling vans to parade through towns telling illegal migrants to “go home” and suggesting international students leave the UK as soon as they complete their degree – have created “a very negative approach to immigration.”

“I believe we should have a more balanced view on immigration, looking at all its aspects,” he said.

In an interview with the New Statesmanhe described the Home Secretary as “economically illiterate when it comes to immigration.” He said, “Look at the City of London, we would not be the number one global financial centre if it were not for the international expertise that works in the City of London.”

Bilimoria, who himself hails from India and moved to the UK in 1981 to study, also pulled no punches when it came to picking faults in the Labour party ahead of the general election in two weeks.

“I don’t believe [the Labour leader] Ed Miliband understands business,” he said. “I don’t believe business has been a priority for him, that’s been demonstrated through the lack of mentioning it in major speeches, and through the way he’s tried now to demonstrate he’s pro-business by completely showing again a lack of understanding of business.”

Bilimoria founded Cobra beer in the late eighties, and it is now majority owned by Molson Coors, although he still retains a 49% stake in the company in India and a 49.9% stake in the British business.

It commands a 98% share of the Indian restaurant drinks market in the UK, according to a BBC report from November last year.

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