Jul 17 2018

‘Brexiteer’ regrets Turkey immigration rhetoric

‘Leave’ campaigners were wrong to stoke fears of an influx of Turkish migrants in the run-up to last year’s Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU, a leading proponent of the Vote Leave campaign has said, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Michael Gove, who is currently the environment secretary, played a key role in helping the Vote Leave campaign win the referendum. On the campaign trail he said that should Turkey and four other countries join the EU, then more than 5 million people, many of them Turks, would move to Britain by 2030.

He also said, in May 2016, at the height of the campaign, that then Prime Minister David Cameron, who often expressed support for Turkey’s EU candidacy, “could not be trusted” on Turkey and that Turkish immigrants would overwhelm Britain’s National Health Service.

Gove now seems to regret some these comments. When asked if was happy with what he said about Turkish immigration, he replied: “I know what you mean, yes. If it had been left entirely to me the leave campaign would have a slightly different feel.”

“I would have to go back and look at everything I said and think whether that was the right response at the right time. There is a sense at the back of my mind that we didn’t get everything absolutely right. It’s a difficult one.”