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British economy desperately needs high EU immigration

When I decided that I, a Conservative voter, could not support Theresa May in the General Election because of her stance on Brexit, I wondered if mine would be a lone voice.

However, a swing of 10%-plus against the Tories in constituencies that voted for Remain at the referendum suggests many ‘remainers’ have taken the chance to have their say.

Mrs May and her government have done everything in their power to stifle debate on Brexit. The election was a chance to remind her that those who voted to remain in the EU accounted for 48% of the electorate.

No doubt the elephant in this corner of the debate is immigration. Workers from outside the UK make up about 12% of Britain’s workforce, and in some sectors the percentage is much higher. UK unemployment is currently less than 5%. In simple terms, the UK economy is not sustainable without immigration in excess of 100,000.

Mrs May has promised a Brexit that works for all. If she is serious about that she needs to broker an agreement that guarantees EU nationals who live and work in the UK can continue to do so for as long as they wish to remain. A reciprocal agreement for UK nationals living and working in EU countries must be part of the same deal.

Moreover, those who do all or most of their business with the EU must be allowed to carry on their trade under the best terms that can be negotiated.

Ideally, the final deal should then be subject to the approval of Parliament.

I consider myself privileged to have been able to live in another EU country, and I am sorry that future generations may find it much more difficult to do so.

Philip CLEWS, Corrèze

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