THE BLOG

An Open Letter to Richard Desmond on 'Hidden Migrants'

26/11/2014 16:04 GMT | Updated 26/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Dear Mr. Desmond,

I am writing with reference to the headline today in the Daily Express: "'Hidden' Migrant Millions".

The clear implication is that the children of immigrants who are born and raised here are "really" immigrants too. And that the official statistics on immigration hide this from the British public in some way.

I cannot see any quote from Migration Watch to justify the headline that these immigrants are "hidden", so I assume it was the view of the Daily Express.

I am sure that you are neither responsible for every editorial judgement made by your newspapers nor seek to interfere in headlines like some other proprietors. But can I ask you this: are you happy that the Daily Express is saying that we should consider people such as Prince Charles, Ed Miliband, Boris Johnson and Winston Churchill as migrants "hidden" from the British public by official statistics? And is it correct that the Daily Express is suggesting that the children of Nick Clegg and, for that matter, Nigel Farage are "hidden migrants"?

Depicting the children of migrants in this way insinuates that, despite being born and bred in the UK, we should regard them as in the same category as those who were born and bred abroad. And if that is the insinuation, I find it offensive as someone who is British, proud of my country, and with a German mother who has lived in Britain permanently and happily for over 50 years. I also find it curious that a paper owned by someone whose maternal grandparents came to this country from Ukraine in search of a better life would be happy to give this impression about the descendants of immigrants.

Your paper has long argued that members of the British public have legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration - a position shared by the Labour Party and Ed Miliband. But suggesting by implication that people who are born and brought up here are somehow un-British or foreign because one or both of their parents emigrated here from abroad surely is not legitimate, but rather is inaccurate and, to many, highly offensive.

I am copying this letter to the editor of the Daily Express, Hugh Whittow, and in light of the issues raised I will be making this letter public.

Yours sincerely,

Stewart Wood

Shadow Minister without Portfolio