Speaking during BBC’s Newsnight programme earlier this week, Shadow Immigration Minister Bryant claimed he was ‘angry’ with hospitality employers for failing to employ and train Brits and instead hiring migrant workers from the likes of Romania and Bulgaria.
"It would be nice sometimes when you go into a British hotel if the receptionist was British,” he said.
"I do get quite angry with some British employers who have decided not to bother with British youngsters to work in the hospitality industry and the construction industry.”
Asked whether his views could be compared to Gordon Brown’s controversial ‘British jobs for British workers’ comments, Bryant replied: "No it's not. It's just saying, we need to give our young people the skills and the opportunity to go out and get those jobs."
Bryant was peaking during a debate on the impact of immigration in the UK, ahead of limits being lifted next year on the number of people from Bulgaria and Romania who can settle elsewhere in the European Union.
On Twitter, the politician asked critics whether they had seen the full interview and claimed he had been making a specific point about certain industries.
The BHA has been quick to hit back at Bryant’s comments, claiming the Rhondda MP ‘is totally out of touch with the hospitality industry’.
The organisation’s spokesperson Tabitha Aldrich-Smith said: “Right now hotels, restaurants and catering companies as well as attractions have joined together in a campaign that’s been running since January this year to encourage more young people to work in hospitality.
“It’s called The Big Conversation. It was only a few weeks ago on the 16th April that a huge event was held in Cardiff to showcase hospitality to young people. Hotels in the area pledged hundreds of jobs, apprenticeships and work placements.
"Our aim is to show how it can be a fantastically varied and rewarding career for anyone, no matter their skills. It’s not about where you come from, it’s about having a positive attitude.”
The Big Hospitality Conversationwas designed by Business In The Community to give young people a voice. In a discussion format the events give industry leaders the opportunity to interact with young people face to face and hear their views as well as fully understand and respond to their challenges.
Do you agree with Chris Bryant?
YES - Hotels should be hiring more British workers55%
NO - Bryant is 'out of touch' with the industry45%