Exclusive interview: Michael Portillo on the rise of UKIP and the state of UK business

No sooner had Michael Portillo finished co-hosting our dazzling London Loves Talent Awards than we had dragged him off to a corner to get a few words about immigration, the rise of UKIP, and business in the UK.

“[British businesses] have more opportunities than they have challenges,” Portillo said. “We have a lot of homegrown talent, but we have an opportunity to import talent.

“That is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Though opposed to aspects of the EU on grounds of diminished political control, Portillo says we need to embrace the immigration to the UK that the EU has enabled.

“Immigration is something we have to have, and rather than being hard-nosed about it and resisting immigration, we should put our arms out and say we need talent.”

Here’s the video:

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Anonymous

    The points based immigration system that UKIP is suggesting (that almost every non-EU country in the world is using), provides for obtaining the very talent Portillo claims that we need. Seriously, do these people only listen to the hype and smears produced by their own parties?

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  • Does Portillo actually understand what is happening in terms of immigration?
    We didn't need the EU to facilitate immigration, any more than we need the EU to decide who can and cannot enter or stay in the UK. In addition, stating that we need to import talent is one thing, but unqualified and unfettered immigration from eastern Europe means that we have many more unskilled workers coming to the UK than skilled ones, making it even more difficult for unemployed British people to get British jobs, and ratcheting down wages, On top of all that, our open borders have also resulted in a massive influx of eastern European criminal gangs.

    Ukip want to take back the control of immigration and the UK's borders, so that the immigration we get is the immigration we want...not the immigration unelected and unrepresentative Brussels bureaucrats want

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  • Anonymous

    How many times does the point have to be made ?

    The UK is one the BEST environments for business to flourish. It has one of THE most LIBERAL societies in the world. it has some of the MOST OPEN and TOLERANT people on this Earth .

    Yet , we have been foisted with all the unskilled, politically miltant and undesirable type of immigrants from around the world. Britain will NO LONGER be the DUSTBIN of the world.

    We have a very proud tradition of tolerance , charity and open-heartedness for which we are famous around the planet.

    Unfortunately though , we have been NAIEVE as we have believed others around the world will follow our twee customs of cricket and standing patiently in a queues.

    So UK , wake up ! We need to CHECK everyone allowed to enjoy the privelleged status of being resident let alone domicile in this great country of ours.

    We will still WELCOME talented , hard-working and decent working immigrants to this country.

    Check the number of immigrant millionaires who made their money in this country (not the thugs and oligarchs that stole and bullied for it and then 'laundered' it in this country.)

    HURRY UP UKIP and CLOSE THE DOORS . We are nore than capable of inviting in those that will work with us and not agaist us.

    And yes, the points systems used in many countries is a tried and tested means of qualifying who is welcome .

    Rod (Southampton)

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  • Britain has stolen and benefited from every other nation on this planet. It is just natural you pay back what stole in a different way. It is way too early to forget this. A so-called middle Brit wakes up and see a of lot immigrants on the streets of Britain and don't understand. A level headed person will take to 'history' to investigate why before commenting.

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