[Mr. Edward O'Hara in the Chair] — Population and Immigration

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:11 am on 2nd February 2010.

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Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering 10:11 am, 2nd February 2010

The voters might well prefer it, but it is the religious equivalent of going around with a paper bag over your head with two holes for the eyes. In my view, it is offensive to want to cut yourself off from face-to-face contact with, or recognition by, other members of the human race. We should certainly look at ways to tackle that issue.

There are other ways in which new entrants are not integrating into our society. Earlier this year, I was on attachment with the Royal Navy, and a member of Her Majesty's armed forces was taking me from one base to another. He was a young Muslim lad from the middle of Birmingham, and he told me on our journey that he has not been able to speak to his mother since he told her that he had decided to join Her Majesty's armed forces, because he has been completely cut off. He has lost contact with all his friends at home and he dare not go back to the neighbourhood in which he grew up. Such is the alienation of immigrant communities in our country living in densely populated areas, often without proper contact with the British way of life as we have all come to know it. The reason for that alienation is the scale of immigration into our country at one time. If there are a small number of immigrants arriving and spreading themselves out across the country, of course there will be integration. But if there are large numbers of immigrants arriving in a small number of places where they often do not speak English or integrate into the British way of life, there will be huge problems.

There are other staggering statistics. I believe that I am right in saying that the official Department for Transport projections are that by 2025 there will be 30 per cent. more vehicles on our roads. Can you imagine that? At peak times now, London is almost at gridlock and small market towns such as Kettering, which would not have had a traffic jam 10 years ago, regularly have traffic jams at peak times. It is a nightmare to travel on the tube at peak times. Our trains are full, this country is full up and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex said, we cannot go on like this.

I very much hope that the next Conservative Government will be robust in tackling this issue, because if we do not get it right our population will not just stop at 70 million-it will go even higher.