Former London mayor says immigration is a good thing
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has denied telling four ambassadors that he supported freedom of movement.
During a meeting with the ambassadors, Johnson said immigration has been a good thing for the UK but denied supporting EU freedom of movement rules.
He said he told the diplomats that immigration had “got out of control”, going against their account of what happened in the meeting.
Many of the ambassadors agreed that Johnson said he supported freedom of movement.
Speaking under the Chatham House rules, which allows comments to be reported but not attributed, one ambassador said: “He did say he was personally in favour of free movement, as it corresponds to his own beliefs. But he said it wasn’t government policy.”
However, speaking in Italy after the ambassadors comments were disclosed, Johnson told Sky News: “I am afraid I said absolutely no such thing and as you know perfectly well I have been a long-standing supporter of immigration and what I said, very clearly, to that group of ambassadors – I think it was at a breakfast meeting – was that immigration had been a good thing for the UK in many respects but that it had got out of control and that we needed to take back control.”