Boris Johnson's India visa plans slammed in PMQS
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Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh questioned the Prime Minister over immigration policies and possible Brexit trade deals with India. Sir Edward told Boris Johnson that working-class Brexit voters did not want more immigration from other countries outside of Europe after voting for the UK to regain control of its borders. Mr Johnson leapt to his feet with a rebuttal to explain that the Government will not relax rules to entice Indian workers to come to the UK.
Sir Edward said: “Apparently, the Government is thinking of relaxing visa controls from India in order to get a free trade deal.
“Whilst a free trade deal is valuable in itself, we should not be held to ransom.
“Would he agree with me that our new working-class voters who voted for Brexit did not vote to replace immigration from Europe with more immigration from the rest of the world?
“Any more than when they were told that they would take back control, we would lose control of the Channel.”
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Sir Edward added: “So will he convince us that he’s determined to connect to our supporters and control immigration.”
Mr Johnson said: “Yes, yes Mr… I don’t recognise the account he’s given at all, we don’t do free trade deals on that basis.
“And I can tell him, actually that net immigration since we took back control has gone down Mr Speaker.
“And we will continue to make sure that we take advantage, that’s all they want Mr Speaker.”
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Mr Johnson added: “There answer is everywhere and always release uncontrolled immigration.
“That is their approach to the economy and it is not the right way forward and that’s why our border bill currently in the House of Lords is so important.
“Mr Speaker, because it enables us to properly take back control of our borders.
“And to tackle illegal immigration, Mr Speaker, and what will be good Mr Speaker is to hear from support some support from the Labour benches.”
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The UK is expected to begin negotiations with New Delhi on the topic of cheaper accessible visas at the end of January.
Government Ministers have been discussing relaxing UK immigration rules to make it easier for Indians to come and live and work in the UK to help build the UK economy.
The plan to allow a similar visa system as Australia has been part of the trading talks that are set to start in just a matter of weeks.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is due to travel to New Dehli in January to start negotiations about a possible trade deal with Indian Government officials.
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