Half of Britons want immigrants to leave: BBC poll

April 18th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 18 (IANS) Half of all Britons think immigrants should be encouraged to leave Britain, a BBC poll said Friday. And almost two-thirds of people in Britain fear race relations are so poor that tensions are likely to spill over into violence.

Of the 1,000 people polled, 60 percent said Britain had too many immigrants.

In addition, 49 percent said that the government should encourage immigrants to leave Britain, compared to 43 percent who said they should not and eight percent who did not know or declined to answer.

Ironically, the proportion of people describing themselves as “racially prejudiced” was down to 20 percent, compared with 24 percent in 2005.

Equality and Human Rights Commission head Trevor Phillips said the findings were “alarming”.

“What worries me is if that friction starts to catch fire - if people do genuinely believe it’s going to catch fire, then we’re in trouble,” he said.

“This finding may reflect not what is happening today but the story that’s been told of the last 40 years - that if you get people of different kinds together then eventually there’s going to be trouble.”

Asked if they thought immigration meant their local area didn’t feel like Britain any more, a quarter of the sample agreed - double the number who felt this way three years ago.

Six out of 10 said immigration had made parts of Britain feel like a foreign country.

The poll, carried out by Mori, was commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of an infamous speech by the late Tory politician Enoch Powell, in which he warned of “rivers of blood” and a “sense of alarm and resentment” over immigration.

However, there have been only a handful of racially linked riots in multi-cultural Britain in recent years.

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