Migrants Should Understand Christian Heritage, Says Former Anglican Leader

Migrants should understand Christian heritage, says former Anglican leader

Migrants should respect the Christian heritage of Britain while the immigration system needs to focus more on values, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 1:04PM GMT 06 Jan 2010

Lord Carey, the former head of the Anglican church, said anyone wanting to come to Britain should be aware of the nation's history and language.

He said the points based system governing immigration could even reward those who understand and espouse our heritage but insisted he was not calling for such a move.

It comes a day after a cross party group of public figures, including Lord Carey, warned a failure to limit immigration could put “social harmony” at risk.

The group has called for all main political parties to make manifesto commitments to keep the population under 70 million by slashing net immigration.

Lord Carey said: “What I think we must call for is an understanding on the part of those who come into our country that they are coming into one which values parliamentary democracy, which is built upon our Christian heritage.

“They have got to understand our commitment to the English language and espouse it, and they must understand our history.”

He said he was not calling for a preference for any religion but added: “There is a points based system. If there is going to be an implementation of that points system it must focus much more on values rather than religion.”

He said if there are “competing groups” wanting to come in to the country, then “some groups which may have a greater understanding, an espousal to that, may be given a preference under such a system. But that is not what I am arguing and certainly not what the cross party group is arguing.”

He warned that if concerns about the level and nature of immigration were not addressed, it simply would play into the hands of the far right British National Party.

Lord Carey said that the parliamentary Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration, which also includes the former Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd, was not arguing for an outright ban on new immigration but believed that there needed to be a “reasonable limit” on the numbers coming into the country.

He said that the BNP was already making political capital out of the “sense of unfairness” that many people felt over the issue.

“If we don't do something about this, we play immediately into the hands of the BNP. That is very clear indeed. That is what they are using in places like Dagenham,” he said.

“They are working and exploiting frustration, a sense of alienation on the part of white working class people who are saying 'our jobs are being taken by people from abroad'.”


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