Changing Attitudes, Changing Coalitions: The Politics of Immigration Before and After Brexit

Robert Ford


Krzysztof Hepner

| 1 min read

The British political landscape on immigration before Brexit had a number of stable features: the public disliked migration and politicians from both main parties tended to accept (if not actively support) higher migration levels than voters preferred. This mismatch generated electoral disruption when the issue rose up the agenda—in particular through mobilisation on the radical and far right—and this initially intense public scepticism was gradually being eroded by demographic change. Brexit has fundamentally changed this landscape, triggering major shifts in both public opinion and electoral competition over immigration. In this article, the past politics of immigration in Britain are reviewed, with an explanation of how and why Brexit prompted change. The implications of the new politics of immigration for the upcoming general election and beyond are also considered.

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    Robert Ford

    Robert Ford is Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at UK in a Changing Europe.

    Articles by Robert Ford

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