'Not xenophobic' to want town centres to not feel like a 'foreign country', Tory MP says

2 October 2023, 17:17 | Updated: 2 October 2023, 17:29

Tory MP Tom Hunt made the claim at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester
Tory MP Tom Hunt made the claim at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Picture: Getty/LBC

By Yasmeen ElTahan

It is 'not xenophobic to walk into your town centre and not want to feel like you are in a foreign country', a Tory MP has said.

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Speaking on the fringes of the Conservative party conference in Manchester , Tom Hunt said he wanted to see “cohesive communities”.

“Being frank, it is not xenophobic for when you walk into your town centre to not want to feel like you are living in a foreign country,” the Ipswich MP said.

“We know when you get good levels of integration, actually multiculturalism can be enriching.

He added: “When you don’t get that integration, when you have communities living parallel existences, that’s not a good thing for communities.”

“It gives immigration a bad name which is not something we should accept.”

In their address at the launch of the New Conservatives’ Rally For The Manifesto, Tory MP's Sir Jacob Rees Mogg and Tom Hunt said the UK should "reduce immigration by halving the number of visas awarded to migrant workers, foreign students and their families".

Read more: Channel crossings reach 10,000 this year as Labour slams 'dismal failure' of Sunak's Stop the Boats pledge

Read more: UN slaps down Suella Braverman after Home Secretary says uncontrolled migration is ‘existential challenge’ to the West

He added: “When you don’t get that integration, when you have communities living parallel existences, that’s not a good thing for communities.”

“It gives immigration a bad name which is not something we should accept.”

In their address at the launch of the New Conservatives’ Rally For The Manifesto, Tory MP's Sir Jacob Rees Mogg and Tom Hunt said the UK should "reduce immigration by halving the number of visas awarded to migrant workers, foreign students and their families".

One of the key pledges Rishi Sunak made at the beginning of the year was to "stop the boats".

According to figures from the Office for National statistics, total net migration was 606,000 in the year ending December 2022. This was a rise from pre-pandemic estimates of between 300,000 and 400,000.

Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman. Picture: Getty

Home Office statistics also show a 63% increase in the number of people coming to the UK on work visas in the year to June 2023.

The comments from Tom Hunt come days after Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that "multiculturalism has failed", in a speech on migration in the United States.

She said: "Uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades".

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