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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Johnson urges Australia labour move

Published 26/08/2013 | 11:07

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Britain and Australia should set up a "free labour mobility zone" to end an "outrageous and indefensible" discrimination that puts European Union workers before Commonwealth nationals, Boris Johnson said.

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The London Mayor said it was time to recognise the "immense opportunities" of striking stronger links with fast-growing economies rather than within the "microclimate of economic gloom" that Europe had become because of the single currency.

And he said the UK should tell Brussels to "stuff it" if it objected to the move - inspired by a teacher who says she was forced to leave London.

The senior Tory, who is holidaying in Australia, was given a letter by Sally Roycroft, an Australian who had been working in London schools. She was "effectively kicked out of Britain" for not being from the EU, Mr Johnson wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

"She is Australian; and she has been told to bog off by the authorities in our country because it was, they said, too much of a palaver to go through the business of 'sponsoring' her to stay."

It was the "infamous consequence" of joining the European Community when Britain "betrayed our relationships with Commonwealth countries", he suggested. But while the EU was losing influence in the world and suffering economic woes, there was big growth in those countries "snootily disregarded" in 1973.

Suggesting the proposal should form part of Prime Minister David Cameron's promised renegotiation of the UK's relationship with Brussels, Mr Johnson said: "We need to raise our eyes beyond Europe, forging and intensifying links with countries that are going to be growing in the decades ahead - countries that offer immense opportunities for British goods, people, services and capital.

"And you could not do better than by starting with Australia. We British are more deeply connected with the Australians - culturally and emotionally - than with any other country on earth," Mr Johnson added, citing Jamie Oliver recipe adverts he had seen in Sydney and Top Gear viewers met on his tour.

"It would be good for the UK, where skilled people like Sally would no longer face an absurd discrimination. It would be good for Australia, where the unspoken reality is that Australians are actually quite keen to encourage more immigration from Britain, and it would be a small but practical way of intensifying British links with the growing economy of Oceania.

"It would be an assertion that we are no longer thinking of ourselves as little Europeans, run by Brussels, but as a country with a truly global perspective. I suppose there might be some objection from the EU - but they should be told firmly to stuff it."

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