'Chuka Umunna is right - it's absolutely essential for migrants to learn English'

'Migrants learning English is common sense, but people in the UK need to learn about the importance of migrants too', says barrister

A cross-party group is calling for migrants to learn English

Friday, January 6, 2017

A leading entrepreneur has agreed with Chuka Umunna's call to make English lessons compulsory for migrants, saying it's "absolutely essential" that those arriving in the UK have a working command of the language.

Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of property firm eMoov, was speaking on Julia Hartley-Brewer's Friday panel show alongside human rights and criminal law barrister John Cooper QC.

A cross-party group of MPs and peers, chaired by Labour MP Umunna, have said migrants should be expected to learn English before coming to the UK, or learn the language upon arrival in language classes.

Quirk said that the suggestion was just "common sense" and asked "if you want to integrate and be part of the society, how can you not speak the language?"

Cooper said the idea "needs to be considered," but added "it’s a two-way street, we [the people already in Britain] need to do our bit as well."

Listen to the full audio above