Former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable has come out in favour of immigration controls for EU nationals after the United Kingdom has left the European Union.
Cable, who campaigned to Remain in the EU during the 2016 Referendum, slammed the idea of freedom of movement after Brexit as racist, questioning whether it was ‘tenable or even desirable’.
In the New Statesman, he wrote:
“I have serious doubts that EU free movement is tenable or even desirable.
“First, the freedom is not a universal right, but selective. It does not apply to Indians, Jamaicans, Americans or Australians.
“They face complex and often harsh visa restrictions.
“One uncomfortable feature of the referendum was the large Brexit vote among British Asians, many of whom resented the contrast between the restrictions they face and the welcome mat laid out for Poles and Romanians.
“The economic arguments are not conclusive but, on balance, favour some net migration of younger, skilled workers. More liberal Brexiteers concede that point.
“It is also reasonable for Remainers to accept that there should be controls, as for non-EU migrants. That is also where public opinion is. Long-term social survey analysis suggests that the demand for effective immigration control coexists with greater tolerance of diversity.”
Cable is not the first Liberal Democrat to back ending freedom of movement – former Health Minister Norman Lamb publicly backed an organisation that seeks the end of freedom of movement in mid 2016.