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Addressing the sensitive issue of immigration
18/11/2010 19:57:00

Today, I spoke in a debate in the House of Commons on immigration.

Apparently it’s the first time the issue has been debated on the floor of the House for years. If so, that’s a scandal - it’s an issue that many of my constituents of all races and backgrounds are concerned about and if the mainstream parties don’t talk about it that just plays into the hands of extremists.

I started by speaking about the positive contribution that migrants have made to our town, whether it is setting up new businesses, working in our public services or enriching our culture. A number of other MPs talked about Britain being a tolerant society but I've always thought tolerance is the wrong word. I don't tolerate the fact that people from all over the world have chosen to come and live in my home town, I celebrate it. I have close friends, neighbours, former council colleagues, people who campaigned to get me elected, fellow parents at my kids' school who are first or second generation migrants. My life, our town, would be immeasurably poorer without them. In a globalised world, Croydon's diversity is one of its greatest strengths.

But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. I raised the concerns that residents raise with me - about the scale of migration in recent years, about the consequent demand for new housing, the pressure on public services, the way in which three-quarters of the jobs created in the last boom went to people who weren't born in this country when we should have been helping the unemployed back to work and about the unfairness - both to Croydon and more importantly to those seeking sanctuary from persecution - of the previous Government's decision that anyone applying for asylum in this country has to do so in person in Croydon.

If it is of any interest, you can find my speech at If you want to read my speech, you can do so about half way down the page here.

After the debate finished, I was contacted by LBC who wanted to interview me. You can listen to the interview here (it was on Iain Dale's show at about 7.20pm) but you have to sign up.

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Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG