James Forsyth

The Labour party and the politics of immigration

The Labour party and the politics of immigration
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There’s an intriguing entry in Chris Mullin’s diaries, this Sunday sees the final part of the Mail on Sunday’s serialisation of them, from January 2004.

“To the Parliamentary Party, where there was discussion about the next Queen's Speech. Ann Cryer [MP] said we needed a managed immigration policy, based on ability to find jobs; not on finding a wife or husband with a British passport, which is putting enormous pressure on young Asians.

Jon Owen Jones [MP] told a story about an Algerian who had brought three people into the country by marrying and divorcing three times. It was all a scam, he said, and time we put a stop to it. Amen to that.

Despite the hoo-ha over asylum, we've barely touched the rackets that surround arranged marriages. What mugs we are.

The trouble is we are terrified of the huge cry of 'racism' that would go up the moment anyone breathed a word on the subject. There is the added difficulty that at least 20 Labour seats, including [Foreign Secretary] Jack Straw's, depend on Asian votes.”

I suspect I’m more in favour of immigration than most Coffee Housers but even those who are broadly in favour of immigration can see what a problem huge numbers of people systematically going abroad to get married is. It makes integration almost impossible.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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