BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 12:05 GMT
Immigration - The Big Debate
It's a subject which taps into people's deepest fears and gives most politicians nightmares.

Gavin Esler and Richard Bacon

When you discuss immigration, claims of racism and xenophobia are never far away.

But like it or not it's a topic which simply can't be ignored.

As part of an Immigration Special, Newsnight and Radio 5 Live commissioned a poll to discover people's views, and the results were fascinating.

two pie charts

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The study found that 72% of the 1,026 adults questioned felt that the Government was doing a poor job on immigration

And nearly two thirds of respondents thought that Britain would lose its unique identity if immigration continues at its present rate.

More than half of those surveyed believed that immigration posed a threat to UK jobs, but 46% felt that without immigrants coming to the UK the economy would ultimately suffer.

The poll suggested that David Cameron and the Conservative party inspired marginally the greater confidence in the British public to do the "best job" at handling the issue of immigration with 29% of the vote, compared to Gordon Brown and the Labour party on 26%.

Newsnight and Radio 5 Live held a debate on immigration featuring politicians from across the spectrum with interaction from the public.

Immigration debate
Every human being has the right to ambition. Immigrants aren't criminals.
Danielle Grufferty

Guests included Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch, Raduta Matache acting Romanian Ambassador to the UK, and Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah from the Institute of Public Policy Research.

The panel discussed the poll findings, in a simulcast co-presented by Richard Bacon and Gavin Esler.

The simulcast enabled both regular Newsnight and Radio 5 live audiences to engage and participate in a new arena, and to provide Newsnight with on-air interactivity that is routine for Radio 5 live.

Watch the Big Immigration Debate


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