Government must stop post-referendum attacks
(4 July 2016)
A Durham University academic warns the government must act urgently to stop post-referendum attacks. In a narrow victory, the public supported leaving the EU by 52% to 48%. There has been a surge in race-related attacks recorded by police since the vote on 23 June. Over 300 racist incidents were reported during the following week. The weekly average is 63 such incidents. Some have resulted in serious injuries requiring hospitalisation.
Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University, argues: ‘The government must act urgently to put an end to this violence. There is a vacuum of political leadership as the country’s embarking on a Brexit awaits a new Prime Minister. But the country cannot stand by and wait while innocent people are attacked in broad daylight for appearing different in xenophobia gone mad’.
An immigrant from the United States, Professor Brooks is a leading immigration specialist and a British citizen since 2011. ‘Members of the public have asked me if I’m alright post-referendum’, says Brooks, ‘because they mistakenly believe that the Leave vote means all immigrants must now leave the country or face deportation’.
He calls on the government to make clear that the referendum vote about Britain’s EU membership has not changed the current law. Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that his successor will lead negotiations with the EU after he leaves office.
Professor Brooks says: ‘This is not about changing the result, but protecting the public. It is never ok to verbally or racially abuse migrants. The government may not have foreseen the tensions exploding in public now, but they have a duty to act. There must be better communication, greater attention given at tackling this problem and a clear signal should be sent to migrants living in Britain that they remain welcome. Our status in the EU has not changed, at least not yet’.