BORIS Johnson has demanded immigrants learn English, claiming there are "too many" parts of the UK where it's not the first language.
The frontrunner in the race for No10 said he wanted people who moved to the UK to "feel British" as he unveiled his plans to overhaul the immigration system.
Speaking at the Tory leadership hustings in Darlington yesterday, the 55-year-old said: "I want everybody who comes here and makes their lives here to be and to feel British. That's the most important thing. And to learn English.
"Too often there are parts of our country and parts of London still and other cities as well where English is not spoken by some people as their first language.
"That needs to be changed and people need to be allowed to take part in the economy and in society in the way that that shared experience would allow."
He used Bangladeshis and Jewish refugees as an example, saying the have "helped to make our national culture."
But not everyone was thrilled with his comments.
Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said: "Here in Wales, we know that not speaking English as your first language is no barrier to having a thriving community."
It comes after Mr Johnson unveiled his new immigration plan which would see a new Aussie-style points-based immigration system introduced.
Other developments in the leadership race this week include:
- BOJO backer and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab blasting the Foreign Secretary as “naive and weak”;
- MR Hunt slamming Boris’s “do or die” Brexit deadline of October 31 as “a false promise” that would see “Jeremy Corbyn end up in Downing Street”;
- DUP chief Arlene Foster all but endorsing Mr Johnson by insisting Britain has to leave by Halloween;
- BANK of England boss Mark Carney backing the plan as credible, if the EU agrees to it;
- JUSTICE Secretary David Gauke threatening to resign if Mr Johnson becomes PM; and
- IRISH PM Leo Varadkar suggesting Boris will tone down his hard Brexit approach when he gets into Downing Street.
Talking about immigration, BoJo said he would keep much of the new Government blueprint to manage arrivals, drawn up by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
But he will also instruct the Migration Advisory Committee to look at how Australia’s system could be incorporated here.
He said: “We must be much more open to high-skilled immigration such as scientists, but we must also assure the public we have control over the number of unskilled immigrants coming into the country.
“We must be tougher on those who abuse our hospitality. Other countries such as Australia have great systems and we should learn from them.”
But some migration campaigners immediately sounded alarm bells over Mr Johnson’s plan as others dubbed it “a soundbite” and thin on detail.
What is an Australian-style immigration system?
- For some skilled visas in Australia you need to score a number of points to get it based on your age, ability to speak English, and the qualifications you hold
- The more skilled you are and work experience you have behind you, the higher your points and more likely you will be awarded the visa to come and work there
- Boris wants to ask the Migration Advisory Committee to look at the Aussie system and see what parts of it Britain can introduce too
- The new system won't come into play until 2021 at the earliest
They pointed out an Australian system is likely to see the scrapping of the Tories’ ten-year-old target to reduce net immigration to below 100,000 a year.
Lord Green, chair of MigrationWatch UK, said: “There is no mention of reducing net migration, let alone how it might be achieved.
“The UK already has a points-based system but it has failed to reduce, or even control, immigration. The Australian system operates entirely differently — its main purpose is to increase, not to reduce, immigration.”
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