BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the corporation has failed the British public by not engaging in a debate on immigration.
Speaking to the Sunday Times in advance of a documentary on the issue, Robinson said: “In public life, in politics and, I accept, historically at the BBC [we] didn’t have a warts-and-all … debate about immigration."
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He said that some in the BBC believed such a debate “would unleash some terrible side of the British public”.
I echo former BBC DG & Head of News saying we were "too slow to recognize and reflect anger felt by many". My documentary airs on Tuesday
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) January 4, 2014
Robinson said his documentary, The Truth About Immigration was necessary because of the levels of fear surrounding the issue.
In one scene, Robinson interviews a man at a country show who claimed Enoch Powell was correct. According to Robinson: “I was keen to have him in because there are people who think like that.”
Robinson said one of the issues raised by the documentary was the impact eastern European workers were having on the construction industry. He said they were driving down the cost of wages, which impacts individuals working in the industry but can produce a greater public benefit.
Robinson told the Sunday Times that immigration was now the “hottest political button other than the economy” and all parties were responding to the issue.
The Truth About Immigration will be broadcast on BBC 2 tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9.30pm