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LONDON -- Prime Minister John Major on Saturday fully endorsed stinging criticism of Conservative Member of Parliament Winston Churchill after he called for an end to the "relentless flow" of immigrants into Britain.

Major backed Home Secretary Michael Howard, who, when asked about Friday's remarks by the grandson of Britain's World War II leader of the same name, said he condemned intervention that could damage race relations.

In one of the most inflammatory speeches since maverick Conservative Enoch Powell's 1968 address predicting that an influx of immigrants would lead to "rivers of blood," Churchill said immigration from the Indian subcontinent should be stopped.

Howard told BBC radio: "Our (government) policy is very clear. It has two inseparable objectives, good race relations and firm control over immigration . . . I condemn any intervention which could have the effect of damaging race relations."

Major's Downing Street office told Reuters: "The prime minister fully endorses what the home secretary has been saying."

The Home Office said primary immigration stopped some years ago and that fewer than 150 people a week arrived in Britain from the Indian subcontinent, mostly to join their families.

Churchill on Saturday stood by his speech, saying that Asian immigration posed a threat to the British way of life and, when challenged by a BBC radio interviewer about his statistics, said: "Come north (to northern England) and see for yourself."

Churchill claimed northern cities such as Leeds and Bradford were more than 50 percent immigrant.

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