<p>Malcolm Haigh</p>

Malcolm Haigh

Owen Jones

A pensioner’s description of how immigration has changed his town has gone viral for all the right reasons.

Speaking about the upcoming by-election in Batley and Spen, Malcolm Haigh, a historian and former journalist, praised immigration for improving his town and celebrated diversity.

He said: “The population has changed as we’ve got quite a lot of Indians and Asians and people living here but that has improved the town to a great degree.”

And when asked if he thinks people from different backgrounds live well together, he replied: “Yes.

“All they have to do is to talk to one another, explore ideas with one another, exchange ideas on what could be good for Batley”.

Responding to the clip, which is part of an Owen Jones documentary about the by-election and has been viewed almost 200,000 times, people praised Haigh for his attitude.

Tracy Brabin, the former MP for the area whose election as mayor has triggered the by-election, said he was “the best of Batley”:

And Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby Ian Byrne added:

Others gave Haigh a virtual pat on the back:

The Batley and Spen by-election will take place on 1 July.

According to the latest opinion polls, the Conservatives are in the lead on 47 per cent of the vote, up 11 per cent from its 2019 general election vote share, and Labour are second, and are expected to attract 41 per cent of the vote.

With attitudes like his, it’s just a shame Haigh isn’t one of the candidates.

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