The Green Party’s MP has launched a passionate defence of immigration at a debate about the European Union.
Caroline Lucas, who previous led her party and is standing to do so again, said that Britain's economy should be restructured so that everyone benefited from the wealth immigration brought.
She called for the Government to ring-fence the money immigrants bring with them to the UK and spend it in areas where services are put under pressure.
“The real concerns are about pressure: but that’s not caused by immigration. That is caused by successive governments’ failure to invest in those services,” she told a BBC debate on the future of the EU.
“We have heard that you are far more likely to meet somebody from another EU country actually treating you in the NHS rather than being in the queue ahead of you.
“Migration goes two ways: we’ve also got the freedom to live and learn and study and work in 26 countries ourselves. What an amazing gift is that?
“When you consider that people coming to our country are bringing with them not only benefit to our society and our culture but also to our economy.
“Let’s ring-fence the money they’re bringing with them into our economy and use it to build leisure centres and libraries in those places under pressure – so everybody can benefit. There’s a two-way street here.”
Ms Lucas, who represents Brighton Pavilion in the House of Commons, made her comments during the BBC’s EU referendum debate, held in Wembley arena in London on Tuesday night.
They follow on from a speech she gave last week in which she hit out at “immigration lies” from the Brexit camp.
“It’s now time to make a stand against the lies of the Brexit camp. They are deliberately whipping up anger among whole swathes of the population and pointing to immigration as the source of all of the challenges we face,” she said on Thursday.
“But the facts don’t bear out what they’re saying: the biggest suppresser of wages has been a global financial crash, services are under pressure predominantly because of vicious Government cutbacks.
“Leavers like to portray themselves as anti-establishment but they are using the oldest trick in the establishment’s playbook: blaming people not born here for the problems caused by successive governments.”
The EU referendum will take place on Thursday 23 June. The deadline to register to vote has already passed.
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