Tulip Siddiq’s maiden Commons speech: ‘Open door immigration vital to Hampstead and Kilburn’

Tulip Siddiq addressing a hustings before the general election. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Tulip Siddiq addressing a hustings before the general election. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

New Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq has warned against Britain leaving the EU – claiming her constituency may not exist “without an open door to immigration” – in an emotive maiden speech to parliament.

Ms Siddiq chose to use her first Commons speech yesterday to urge fellow MPs to push for the “right decision” in a future EU referendum, drawing on her own story as “the daughter of a political asylum seeker”.

Watched on by her mother and aunt, who is the prime minister of Bangladesh, Ms Siddiq told the Commons chamber: “On May 7 this year, my constituency elected the daughter of a political asylum seeker.

“My mother came to Kilburn in the 1970s because 19 members of her family had been assassinated at home. My mother and my aunt were the two surviving daughters of the founding father of Bangladesh.

“My mother came to Britain because this was a safe haven for her. Her story tells us that immigration is not simply an economic phenomenon.

“Britain has been seen for many years as a safe haven for political freedom. We must not let that slip away.

“An ill-conceived net migration target that includes refugees and asylum seekers is, frankly speaking, immoral, and it should put us to shame.”

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Ms Siddiq also applauded her constituency’s “welcoming attitude” to immigrants over the years.

She said: “In my constituency we have shown our welcoming attitude to migrants from Ireland and to refugees fleeing political persecution in Nazi Germany.

“In my constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, we recognise the link between aspiration and immigration.

“We recognise that public services will be put under pressure because of a larger population. We recognise that housing will be put under pressure, but we still recognise the benefits of immigration, and how it enriches us.”

The 32-year-old former Camden councillor added: “Think about this: 46 per cent of constituents in Hampstead and Kilburn are foreign-born.

“Without an open door to immigration, we might not have Hampstead and Kilburn. If we want Britain to remain open for business, we cannot shut the door of the shop.

“My fear is that the EU referendum will become a proxy referendum on immigration. Both topics require a cool head and a moral compass.

“I believe that members on both sides of the House need to work together to ensure that we give people the right choice to make the right decision when it comes to voting in the EU referendum.”