Brexit bombshell: Proud Commonwealth migrants voted Leave over ‘resent’ for EU

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While non-white ethnic groups in the UK generally leaned more towards the Remain side, vast swathes of people from minority backgrounds supported Brexit. In Osterley and Spring Grove in Hounslow, for example, which has a healthy portion of home-owning British Indians, 63.4 percent of the electorate voted Leave.

The majority of voters in the west London ward are non-white.

Hardeep Matharu, whose parents migrated to Britain from Kenya and India more than 40 years ago, summed up their dissatisfaction with Brussels.

The editor of the Byline Times said her father “liked the way of life” in Kenya when the British ruled the east African nation.

Swaraj Matharu described how “everything was run properly, all the laws, the administration”.

Ms Matharu said: “On voting for Brexit, my father admits harbouring ‘resentment’ at how Britain has changed, in his eyes, for the worse – something he feels is linked to being part of the EU.”

Her father saw the EU as a powerful entity “trying to impose its own rules, regulations and laws” on Britain and he was not happy about what he saw.

He said: “My allegiance is to Britain, I don’t see myself as part of Europe, I don’t want to be.

“Europe is trying to impose its own rules, regulations and laws onto this country.

“Britain should have kept on its own. We were better off that way.”

One of the policies of the EU that he took issue with was the uncontrolled immigration.

He said: “It’s changed the whole culture of this country now.”

Mr Matharu summed up his feelings of discontent by saying: “I don’t see what Europe has ever done for Britain.”

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A Pakistani second generation immigrant also highlighted how those in the Commonwealth who had fought for Britain while part of the Empire were given lesser access to immigrate to the UK than their EU counterparts.

They said: “My uncle fought in the Second World War in Burma and our ancestors have been entwined in the British Empire and Britain, but we have been given less rights in terms of migration into this country as compared to some eastern European countries.

This sentiment was also backed by Shahmir Sanni who worked for BeLeave, an offshoot of the Vote Leave campaign.

Shahmir Sanni, who was born in Pakistan, said a number of migrants from South East Asia felt their communities were “being left behind” as Britain integrated more with Europe

He added: “Britain has a moral obligation to reconnect with the Commonwealth and I consider that a form of reparations.

“If we’re going to have free movement, it should be between Britain and India, Pakistan and countries like Nigeria, not with the EU.

“I also think it’s unfair that European migrants get privileges over non-EU migrants.”

Official statistics released this week showed a rise in UK net migration driven by an increase in non-EU nationals arriving to study.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration was around 313,000 in the year to March.

This marked a jump of 221,000 from the previous year.

The latest figure showed net migration has risen to its highest level since March 2016, months before Britain voted to leave the bloc in the EU referendum.

In the 12 months leading up to March 2020 around 715,000 people moved to the UK.

During the same period around 403,000 people left the country, according to a report published on Thursday.

Of the new arrivals, 257,000 came to study while 458,000 arrived for work, family or other reasons.

Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, said: “After a period of stability, we were seeing migration levels begin to increase in the past 12 months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was being driven by increases in non-EU student arrivals, mainly from China and India.”

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