The Politics of Immigration before and after Brexit: Changed Attitudes, Changed Coalitions... Changed Outcomes?

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The British political landscape on immigration before Brexit had a number of stable features: the public disliked migration; politicians from both 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 right 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 talk, Professor Rob Ford (University of Manchester) reviews the past politics of immigration in Britain, explains how and why it was changed by Brexit, and considers the implications of the new politics of immigration for the upcoming general election.