Michael Gove says Brexit has made UK more welcoming as he attacks the SNP's 'identity politics'

Steven Swinford
Mr Gove, the Environment Secretary, said Britain is now one of the countries with the “warmest attitude to migration” in Europe - Getty Images Europe

Britain has become more welcoming to migrants since the Brexit vote and the Union has been strengthened while the “identity politics” of the SNP and Ukip has been “diminished and eclipsed”.

Mr Gove, the Environment Secretary, said Britain is now one of the countries with the “warmest attitude to migration” in Europe and said that the Brexit vote has “boosted liberalism”.

He said that the SNP in Scotland is driven by a “desire to exclude”, adding that support for Scottish nationalism has declined significantly since the vote to leave the European Union.

He said that the SNP has “played with identity politics in order to advance a position”.

In a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank said he does not believe that there is support for a second independence referendum in Scotland. “I would bet against it,” he said.

Conservative Party needs to appeal 'beyond its core vote', Michael Gove tells Theresa May today

He said that Ukip has been “eclipsed” by Brexit, highlighting the fact that while the party once commanded 4million votes it now compared by senior figures in the party to the Black Death.

Mr Gove said that Brexit can be used to “redistribute opportunity across our nation” and “bridge gaps and heal divisions” between the old and young, rich and poor and north and south.

He suggested that after Brexit the Government could address divisions by reforming corporation tax, making it easier for businesses in poorer areas to borrow money

He said that the Brexit vote was not “nostalgic” or “backward-looking” but an attempt to ensure that Britain can play its role in the affairs of other nations “as an equal”.

He said that Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom: “I’m confident that Northern Ireland will be in the UK for as far as the eye can see, as long as the mind can imagine. 

“Of course there are some delicate issues that can be resolved. I am confident the wishes of the people of Northem Ireland to stay part of the United Kingdom will be respected.”

He added: “The Prime Minister is absolutely determined and committed to maintaining the strength and solidity of the UK. It is for me reassuring that the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland want to stay in the UK.

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