Gove declares UK 'most immigrant friendly' country
In the face of fears that the UK could virtually be shutting its doors to immigrants following Brexit, Michael Gove – the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – has declared that the country is more friendly to immigrants than any other country in the European Union.
The Brexit supporter took to the BBC’s Today programme to staunchly deny the fact that communities had become divided in the wake of Britain’s departure from the EU.
Challenging the suggestion that the UK’s immigration policy has become too harsh in its approach, Gove has suggested that this perception is simply not true.
He told BBC Radio Four: “Britain has the most liberal attitude towards migration of any European country. And that followed the Brexit vote. The characterisation of it as somehow having led to worse communal relations or a more hostile attitude to migration – that just isn’t borne out by the facts.”
Whether the UK government is welcoming towards immigrants might be in question, but it seems that as a nation, a large portion of Brits are happy to live side by side with immigrants. In an EU report which was published in October 2017, it was revealed that as many as 70% of Brits would be comfortable in living next to an immigrant neighbour. This put the UK behind only Sweden and Holland in the same study.
It all appears to be boiling down to how Brexit negotiations will play out. Will EU nationals be given the same immigration rights as those from the Commonwealth, for instance? Could they be handed even more freedoms as Theresa May’s government seeks to line up concessions in order to salvage a better deal after Britain voted to ‘jump ship’ from the EU?
What’s clear is that the British government has some tricky balancing acts to perform. On the one hand, they need to appease the views of those who voted to leave the EU, and, on the other, ensure that the economy does not suffer a massive hit as the result of a diminished foreign workforce.