Home Office Minister Lord Bates, responding to a question from Lord Green of Migration Watch on population control and the effect of the children of migrants:
Lord Green: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest assessment of the impact of international migration on the population of the United Kingdom, taking into account the children of immigrants already in the United Kingdom.
Lord Bates: My Lords, the Office for National Statistics publishes results from the Annual Population Survey. In the year ending December 2013, an estimated 7.8 million people were born outside the UK, while 4.9 million were non-UK citizens. For the calendar year of 2013, births in the UK to non-UK born mothers accounted for 25% of all live births. That is why we need to reduce immigration.
Lord Bates goes on fawningly to suggest that Migration Watch is “widely regarded as a balanced think tank that makes a positive contribution to the debate on immigration in this country” and that there is a need “to protect the public services of this country”. To cap it all, he ends the exchange by saying
What we are doing is drawing a line to say that we must get much tougher with those who want to come here and abuse our openness.
Protect public services… from the children of immigrants? From those who abuse our openness… by having children?
A sample of responses on Twitter:
Can I apologise to Lord Bates for having fathered 3 children by an immigrant (my wife)? I hadn’t realised Tories frown on that kind of thing
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) March 17, 2015
One is left with the suspicion that for nativists like Lords Green and Bates, the children of Fraser Nelson are collateral damage; not the real target of their ire.
Why aren't Tories winning? Con minister saying to the 20% plus of electorate with one imm parent that they are a problem may be one clue
— Rob Ford (@robfordmancs) March 17, 2015
— Ian Birrell (@ianbirrell) March 17, 2015
If @migrationwatch want to count children of migrants as (negative) consequence of immigration, why, logically, not count grandchildren too?
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) March 16, 2015
At least Migration Watch is now admitting that immigrants and their children will never be British in their eyes: pic.twitter.com/CnjeITETA7
— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) March 16, 2015
A parallel might be drawn with the United States and the electoral hole the Republicans are digging for themselves, although the demographics are more pronounced there. Take a look at this piece from this week’s Economist.