Ipswich MP Tom Hunt defended his views on immigration when challenged on a BBC live politics show. 

Mr Hunt appeared on BBC Two's Politics Live on Wednesday to talk, among others, about the situation of asylum seekers in the Suffolk town. 

He defended his recent comment he gave on Sky News, when he said that people speaking English in the Ipswich town centre is “almost a rarity”. 

The show's host, Jo Coburn, challenged the MP’s opinion with data which showed that 88% of residents in Ipswich speak English as their main language. 

During his appearance on the BBC show, Mr Hunt said: “We have significant antisocial behaviour problems in our town centre, and a lot of people carrying out those, whether it's shoplifting, they've recently come here. 

“We have a problem with integration when it comes to one particular community.” 



Mr Hunt was challenged by Labour's Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who said he is willing to visit Ipswich and talk to shop owners about issues pointed out by the local MP. 

Ipswich Star: MP Hunt was challenged by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, BBCMP Hunt was challenged by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, BBC (Image: BBC)

Mr Hunt added: “The key point here is integration. I strongly believe that when you get integration, diversity is a power for good, it adds vibrancy to communities.

“And when you don't get integration, it's impossible; it's very hard to get shared values. That's when it can become problematic."

Ipswich Star: MP Tom Hunt, House of CommonsMP Tom Hunt, House of Commons (Image: House of Commons)

After being approached by this newspaper, Mr Hunt added:  “The comments and views that I hold come on the back of thousands of conversations I have with my constituents.

“The police representative who attended the walkabout with me a few months ago to talk to the town centre businesses who had contacted me about shop lifting is fully aware of what was said and what the overwhelming message was from the shop keepers we spoke to. 

“If others want to ignore these issues and try and pretend that there isn’t a problem that is their prerogative. But I won’t be part of that approach."

Ipswich Star:  Tom Hunt MP appeared in Politics Live on Wednesday, October 25, BBC Tom Hunt MP appeared in Politics Live on Wednesday, October 25, BBC (Image: BBC)

Mr Hunt also commented on Mr Russell-Moyle's wish to visit Ipswich: “My advice to Corbynista Lloyd Russell-Moyle is to focus on things in Brighton.

"He seems like a nice bloke but I don’t really feel like I need his advice on how all of these issues should be tackled. I can think of far better and more productive uses of my time.”

Mr Hunt has recently shared his views on the situation with the Novotel in Ipswich, which was taken over by the Home Office last year to accommodate asylum seekers. 

The hotel will return to its original use at the beginning of next year. 

Suffolk Refugee Support raised concerns over "shunting" asylum seekers into new accommodation amid the hotel 'exit' plan.