It has been suggested by a former senior Conservative minister that Britain would “fall apart” without UK immigration to help drive the economy.
Speaking during a general election event in London, Alistair Burt, who served as a Foreign Office minister between 2010 and 2013, said that politicians should be working to counter the “negative” impression of UK immigration that is currently spreading around the country.
The former minister accused the “rise of the new Right” in both the UK and across Europe as a whole of being behind the shifting view on immigration. He noted Germany's 'Pegida' movement and urged politicians to challenge their approach.
Speaking about Britain, Mr Burt said: “Without immigrants in this country at the present it would fall apart. The reason why free movement of labour in Europe works is because we are taking people from sclerotic European economies - and thank goodness we are.”
He did however note that there are “issues about numbers”, suggesting that there does need to be some level of control on the flow of people into the country. But he balanced this by saying that we have got to be “bold enough to recognise what immigrants are bringing to the UK and be very clear about their value.”
The comments come less than a month ahead of the UK's general election on May 7th. Immigration is proving to be a major point between the parties, with all parties promising reform on the UK immigration system.