Watch: how Tory minister Anna Soubry stood up to Farage's immigration scaremongering

Rather than pandering to the UKIP leader, Soubry declared on Question Time: "You do not talk facts, you talk prejudice."

Appearing on Question Time with Nigel Farage last night, Tory minister Anna Soubry unexpectedly (and brilliantly) departed from the Lynton Crosby script and launched a full-frontal attack on the UKIP leader for his scaremongering over immigration. Rather than pandering to Farage, as most Conservatives would do, she said: "You talk about facts – in my constituency your party put out a leaflet saying 29 million people from Romania and Bulgaria were going to flood into our country. Well, the population is only 27-and-a-half million of the two of them.

"You do not talk facts, you talk prejudice. That’s what you talk, and you scaremonger and you put fear in people’s hearts.

"Look, times are tough. We know that. But when times are tough, there’s a danger and history tells us when things are not good, you turn to the stranger and you blame them. And you shouldn’t. That is wrong. And I’m proud of our country’s history and I’m proud that people come here."

Courtesy of Political Scrapbook, you can watch footage of the clash from 30 seconds onwards.

But if Soubry's words were inspiring, she must know that they apply as much to her own party's ministers as to Farage. Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith relentlessly whip up fear over "benefit tourism" despite there being no evidence for their claims. David Cameron portrays migrants as a "constant drain" on the UK, casually disregarding their net contribution to the economy. But in these populist times, Soubry's tour de force was a comforting reminder that there are still some Conservatives (Ken Clarke and Gavin Barwell among them) who trade in facts, not prejudice.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester Town Hall on September 30, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Andy Burnham quits shadow cabinet: "Let's end divisive talk of deselections"

The shadow home secretary reflected on a "profoundly sad" year. 

Andy Burnham will leave the shadow cabinet in the reshuffle to focus on his bid to become Manchester's metro mayor in 2017. 

In his swansong as shadow home secretary, Burnham said serving Labour had been a privilege but certain moments over the last 12 months had made him "profoundly sad".

He said:

"This is my tenth Conference speaking to you as a Cabinet or shadow cabinet minister.

"And it will be my last.

"It is time for me to turn my full focus to Greater Manchester. 

"That's why I can tell you all first today that I have asked Jeremy to plan a new shadow cabinet without me, although I will of course stay until it is in place."

Burnham devoted a large part of his speech to reflecting on the Hillsborough campaign, in which he played a major part, and the more recent campaign to find out the truth of the clash between police and miners at Orgreave in 1984.

He defended his record in the party, saying he had not inconsistent, but loyal to each Labour leader in turn. 

Burnham ran in the 2015 Labour leadership election as a soft left candidate, but found himself outflanked by Jeremy Corbyn on the left. 

He was one of the few shadow cabinet ministers not to resign in the wake of Brexit.

Burnham spoke of his sadness over the turbulent last year: He was, he said:

"Sad to hear the achievements of our Labour Government, in which I was proud to serve, being dismissed as if they were nothing.

"Sad that old friendships have been strained; 

"Sad that some seem to prefer fighting each other than the Tories."

He called for Labour to unite and end "divisive talk about deselections" while respecting the democratic will of members.

On the controversial debate of Brexit, and controls on immigration, he criticised Theresa May for her uncompromising stance, and he described Britain during the refugee crisis as appearing to be "wrapped up in its own selfish little world".

But he added that voters do not want the status quo:

"Labour voters in constituencies like mine are not narrow-minded, nor xenophobic, as some would say. 

"They are warm and giving. Their parents and grandparents welcomed thousands of Ukrainians and Poles to Leigh after the Second World War.

"And today they continue to welcome refugees from all over the world. They have no problem with people coming here to work.

"But they do have a problem with people taking them for granted and with unlimited, unfunded, unskilled migration which damages their own living standards. 

"And they have an even bigger problem with an out-of-touch elite who don't seem to care about it."

Burnham has summed up Labour's immigration dilemma with more nuance and sensitivity than many of his colleagues. But perhaps it is easier to do so when you're leaving your job.