Is Brexit driven by the migrant crisis?

Imogen Braddick


The date for the referendum on whether the UK remains in the EU has been set and the migrant crisis shows no signs of dampening. How much will the outcome be influenced by the current situation in the Middle East and Calais? Will the outcome be a true representation of the public’s political ideology or will it be one influenced by the migrant crisis alone?

The referendum has coincided with the movement of the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people since records began. Britain has to make a decision about allowing migrants into the country whilst deliberating and campaigning for leaving or remaining in the EU. The migrant crisis will inevitably influence the decision. Leaving the EU allows Britain to gain full control of its borders and reduce the amount of migrant workers entering the country. It would allow complete disregard of the principle of “free movement” of EU members wanting to work in Britain. The alternative view is that migrants fuel economic growth and help contribute to government spending on public services. Will those who vote to remain in the EU also be those who believe migrants are an advantage to Britain’s economy? Additionally, will those who vote to leave the EU be those who oppose the supposed huge influx of refugees and migrants? David Cameron is attempting to make a difference to the amount of EU migrants coming to Britain by changing the benefit rules, but most of the migrants come to Britain to work, rather than claim benefits. Leaving the EU will inevitably make it more difficult for Britain to cope with the migrant crisis. Border control will be in Britain, rather than Calais, and the current condition in Europe provides voters with a good reason to leave. The migrant crisis is a global difficulty and we would struggle to solve it alone, yet polls suggest that the public is continuing to be swayed by the current state of Europe.

Perhaps the referendum should be held during a different period of time; David Cameron promised a referendum back in 2013 but has chosen a difficult time to ask for a public vote. Then again, it is extraordinarily difficult to predict what the future and outcome of the migrant crisis will be, let alone how long it will last. Whatever decision is made, Europe will be walking down a new path.