Boris Johnson calls David Cameron a ‘merchant of gloom’, says UK would ‘thrive’ outside EU –

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British families are entitled to fear the impact that “enormous” numbers of migrants will have on jobs, housing and the NHS, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that it is “absolutely outrageous” to condemn people who raise concerns as “racist” and said that their “genuine fears” must be listened to and addressed.

He also said that there is “no correct Christian view” on how to vote in the EU referendum, adding: “You can’t say ‘God says you must vote this way’.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, welcomed the Archbishop’s comments.

But he warned that, for many years, “the elites” equated anxieties about immigration with racism, allowing groups with “nasty motives” to capitalise on the issue.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of CanterburyJustin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is amongst 23 religious leaders involved in an attack on the bill   Photo: PA Wire

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I think these are rational comments from the Archbishop and are to be welcomed, but, you know, you wonder just how late they have come from various people in institutions.”

He added: “For far too many years, what’s happened is that, in a sense, the elites really all said ‘It is terrible to talk about immigration and if you do you are racist’.

“So they shut down the debate for many, many years. I can even remember back at the time when Tony Blair was prime minister, to even mention immigration was to be accused of being a racist.

Iain Duncan SmithIain Duncan Smith  Photo: Geoff Pugh

“You talked in terms about asylum seekers, but that accusation probably silenced legitimate discussion and it meant that, if you do that, what happens is you push this debate to the margins, which is what you are seeing in Europe.

“And then political parties and people with very poor intentions and rather nasty motives then start to take this issue, and that’s where you lose control.

“So this should have been the case many, many years before but shutting it down has been terrible for the British people.”

Boris Johnson calls David Cameron a ‘merchant of gloom’, says UK would ‘thrive’ outside EU –