‘U.K. stand on visas to Indians unfair’

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Party, Tim Farron, reacts to supporters at the launch of the party's General Election campaign in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Britain   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Britain’s stance on visas for Indian citizens risks undermining a key plank of the government’s Brexit strategy, forging relations with India and other major economies, Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said, adding that there was an “obvious unfairness” in the treatment, compared to China.

Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday as the party launched a campaign to strengthen its standing with ethnic minority groups, he warned that the government had done “everything it could to undermine its own case” for a free trade agreement with India. Some Labour and Conservative politicians were willing to use language that demonised sections of the community.

“We know the disparities between Chinese and Indian visa access so there is an obvious unfairness that the government should have addressed but it is also foolish of the government not to seek the strongest possible economic and cultural ties with the biggest economy in the Commonwealth,” he said.

Less attractive

“Leaving the single market makes Britain a less attractive destination for people from anywhere, but particularly Commonwealth countries, and we will lose our pitch as a place where the Commonwealth and the E.U. meet. This is retrievable if we stay in the common market but certainly so if we get what we want which is a referendum on the terms of the deal in two years time.”


“If you are not interested in free trade with the biggest market in the planet [the EU] then you are sending a message that you are not interested in free trade and that will be heard in countries such as India and that worries me greatly. This election is a colossal opportunity to tell another story: and show [that] Britain of the future can be a brighter and less bleak one that the Prime Minister is suggesting,” he said.

He added that some politicians in both the Labour and Conservative parties had been willing to use language that demonised sections of the community. “We need to change the language and upfront say that from a British perspective immigration is a blessing and not a curse.”

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 1:33:18 PM |

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