Belfast Telegraph

Brexit has made Britain more welcoming to immigrants – Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary said the Leave vote had strengthened unionism.

Brexit has led to Britain adopting one of the warmest attitudes in the EU towards migration and strengthened unionism, Michael Gove has said.

The Environment Secretary said the Leave vote had dealt a blow to the “identity politics” put forward by parties like the SNP and Ukip.

Then prominent Leave campaigner told a Policy Exchange conference on unionism in London: “Another feature of unionism, the explicit embrace of diversity has strengthened since Brexit.

“Britain has become more welcoming to migration since the Brexit vote as opinion research has confirmed.

“The act of taking back control has allowed British citizens to show that they can be more welcoming to new arrivals if allowed to be rather than required to be.

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Michael Gove addressing a conference on London on unionism

“And now Britain is one of those EU nations with the warmest attitude towards migration, mirroring the attitudes in sister countries across the globe such as Canada and New Zealand.”

Mr Gove attacked what he called the “divisive” identity politics of the left and right, saying Brexit had boosted unionist values of inclusion as it was a “vote of confidence” in Britain.

The Cabinet Minister said he did not agree with claims that the Leave campaign indulged in identity politics with warnings that millions of Turkish people could have been entitled to come to the UK in the future if it did not leave the EU.

Mr Gove said he did not believe Brexit would lead to Northern Ireland exiting the UK, and suggested support for Scottish independence had fallen.

He said: “Brexit has, certainly so far, strengthened unionist currency in our politics, not weakened it.

“Since the vote to leave the European Union in 2016, support for Scotland leaving the United Kingdom has diminished.”

Mr Gove said Prime Minister Theresa May was absolutely determined to find the right answer for “delicate” Brexit issues relating to the Northern Irish border.

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