Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has told an audience at City Hall, the home of London's government, that he is 'probably about the only politician I know of who is actually willing to stand up and say that he's pro-immigration'.
He continued 'I believe that when talented people have something to offer a society and a community, they should be given the benefit of the doubt'. He added that he was 'the descendant of immigrants'.
Mr Johnson is indeed out of step with other UK politicians in the tone and content of his pronouncements on immigration. He has frequently said that London businesses need to be able to employ talented people from overseas.
Free Labour Mobility Zone for UK and AustraliaHe has also called for the UK to enter into treaties with Australia and New Zealand to create a Free Labour Mobility Zone which would allow the citizens of these countries to work freely throughout the zone.
He has also given his support to the parliamentary pro-immigration pressure group Migration Matters saying that the UK needs 'a well-managed migration system that secures our borders and allows the brightest and the best to come here, contribute and thrive.'
He accompanied the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne on a recent trip to China and supported the Chancellor's announcement of a new, simpler visa application system for Chinese tourists and businessmen.
Labour turned 'complete bind eye' to immigrationHowever, Mr Johnson has also said that the UK must crack down on illegal immigration. He blamed the decision of the former Labour government of the UK 'to turn a complete blind eye [to illegal immigration] that undermined immigration in the eyes of many people in this country [the UK].
He said it was necessary to be 'very tough' with illegal immigrants because 'they are undermining the credentials and hard work of everybody else'.
In July 2013, appearing on a phone-in on London commercial radio station LBC, Mr Johnson called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in the UK for twelve years or more. However, he added that the UK should be 'much tougher in [its] approach to borders'.
Johnson's great grandfather was Turkish ministerMr Johnson is the great grandson of a Turkish journalist and politician Ali Kemal. Ali Kemal married an Anglo-Swiss woman, Winifred Brun in 1909. Ali Kemal returned to Turkey alone in 1912 and remarried.
During the First World War, the children lived in England with their mother. Because Turkey fought on the side of Germany in that war, the two children of Ali Kemal and Winifred took on their grandmother's maiden name of Johnson to avoid discrimination. They did not change the name back after the war.
Ali Kemal lynchedAli Kemal was lynched by a mob in Turkey in 1922 during the Turkish War of Independence, perhaps because of his vocal opposition to the persecution of Armenians or perhaps because he was a vocal opponent of Kemal Ataturk, who eventually became Turkey's first President.
Mr Johnson is considered to be possible future leader of the UK's right wing Conservative Party.
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