Boris Johnson: Xenophobia is part of human nature but 'it doesn't make people bad, OK?'

The Mayor of London insisted that immigration is beneficial to UK

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Boris Johnson has claimed that xenophobia is “part of human nature” but that it does not make people innately “bad”.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Mr Johnson said there was a “certain amount of xenophobia” in the UK debate around immigration, adding: “All human beings are prey to that feeling.

“It’s part of human nature. It doesn’t mean people are bad, OK?” he said.

Mr Johnson’s comments follow a speech by David Cameron last week detailing radical plans to restrict benefit payments to European Union migrants in an attempt to curb immigration.

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David Cameron’s remarks came after his pledge to cut immigration figures from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands appeared to be “in ruins” after net annual migration rose from 182,000 to 260,000 in a single year.

Mr Johnson added that it is imperative for politicians to “point out the benefits of immigration” however, explaining that “there are benefits of having talented people, and having a welcoming policy to people that will work hard”.

The Mayor of London was speaking in Singapore, where he has spent a week in talks with world leaders in which he has said the UK needs to stay open, and that investment from foreign billionaires is needed for London’s infrastructure.