Boris Johnson calls for all immigrants to learn English and criticises lack of integration

Posted On: 
6th July 2019

Boris Johnson has said that immigrants into the UK should learn to speak English, because there are “too many parts of the country where it is not the first language”. 


Boris Johnson said that all immigrants should learn English
PA Images

Speaking at a Tory leadership hustings event in Darlington yesterday, he highlighted Bangladeshis, Jewish refugees and French Huguenots as examples that immigrants had adapted and “helped to make our national culture”. 

However, Mr Johnson noted that some communities had failed to integrate. He said, “I want everybody who comes here and makes their lives here to be and to feel British, that’s the most important thing, and to learn English.

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“Too often there are parts of our country and parts of London still, and other cities as well, where English is not spoken by some people as their first language. That needs to be changed and people need to be allowed to take party in the economy and in society in the way that shared experience would allow.” 

His comments were attacked by Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat candidate in the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

She said, “Here in Wales, we know that not speaking English as your first language is no barrier to having a thriving community.” 

At the hustings, Mr Johnson also responded to a question about the sacrifices he had made for the country by stating that “It’s embarrassing but true that, you know, it is obviously possible… to make more money by not being a full-time politician.”

He continued, “I don’t want to put too fine a point on it but, you know. You have to make sacrifices sometimes. And that is the right thing to do. Being a full-time politician means that I won’t be able to rapidly complete a book on Shakespeare that I have in preparation. I honestly say that will grieve me.” 

His comments on integration come as he today called for less restrictions on stop and search.

In an interview with the Daily Mail today, he said: “When it comes to stop and search, I think the fact is that we went wrong when we decided to change the rules on the best use of stop and search.”

He explained, “We made it more difficult. And I think it’s important now that we change that balance back.”