Umunna heads to Brexit stronghold ahead of immigration inquiry

22nd August, 2016 2:41 pm

Chuka Umunna

Chuka Umunna today kicks off an inquiry into immigration and social cohesion by reaching out to Leave voters in the most segregated town in the UK.

The former Shadow Business Secretary, a vocal supporter of the unsuccessful campaign to stay in the EU, is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on social integration, and is making a point of beginning the research for his report in Boston, which had the highest Leave support in the country.

Umunna says that it is “vital that we act to heal the divides exposed by the bitter referendum campaign”, following a rise in reports of racist crime since June 23. He says that a clear outcome of the vote was that “people rejected freedom of movement” and it is important to now listen to Leave voters to ensure the best Brexit deal.

“Politicians from all sides have to accept that reality, and design a brand new immigration system that works and which reflects people’s concerns. That also means listening to the views of Leave voters in communities like Boston, where the Brexit vote was highest,” Umunna said, before visiting Boston.

The Streatham MP will meet with a group of pensioners to discuss how Boston has changed in their lifetimes, representatives from local faith groups and young people from different backgrounds to discuss how they perceive divides in their town. The first report of the APPG’s inquiry will offer practical advice on how government and local services can better support communities to manage immigration and rapid demographic change.

Umunna said: “Following the spike in hate crimes across the UK following the referendum, it is vital that we act to heal the divides exposed by the bitter referendum campaign. As I argued before and during the referendum campaign, rather than slipping back into the bad old days of ‘send them all home’, we need an immigration system which supports both existing communities and newcomers to manage change. The Government should immediately bring forward plans to create a funding pot for infrastructural investments and integration programmes in areas with high levels of immigration.”

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