Veteran journalist admits immigration ‘taboo’

John Sergeant

John Sergeant – one of Britain’s best known political journalists – has admitted that immigration was for decades treated as a ‘taboo’ subject by the journalistic establishment.

Sergeant worked for the BBC for thirty years, latterly as chief political correspondent from 1992 to 2000, and was political editor of their rival ITN from 2000 to 2002.

Writing in the Radio Times, he acknowledged:

“In my years [at] the BBC and ITV, I was fully aware of the immigration taboo. There is an old journalistic rule that says ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ and, looking back, we were guilty of not encouraging more serious debate on this subject.”

Sergeant added:

“At least we could try to reduce personal attacks on the integrity of those who put forward the case for a proper system of immigration control. It is not racist to talk openly about this subject.

“It is yet another difficult issue that we have to grapple with. And if we fail to do so, this country and our democracy will suffer for many years to come. But as with all serious political issues, brushing it under the carpet is also dangerous and it leads to widespread misunderstandings that we fail to address at our peril.”

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