Video: Trevor Phillips gives McLean Lecture

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TIGHT immigration rules being proposed at Westminster could be a “catastrophe” for Scotland, one of the country’s leading equality campaigners said in a keynote speech on constitutional choice yesterday.

• Trevor Phillips: Time to shape this nation

Trevor Phillips gave the inaugural McLean lecture. Picture: Getty

Trevor Phillips gave the inaugural McLean lecture. Picture: Getty

Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, warned that the pro-UK side in Scotland should acknowledge that the “unpleasant, populist and restrictive” policies being raised at Westminster would be disastrous here.

He also warned of a “fissile” atmosphere within countries as they seek to manage different identities, pointing to terrorist attacks over the last decade. That experience has shown that the debate over Scottish independence is taking place “on dangerous grounds that could leave Scotland – and the rest of Britain – deeply divided”.

He made his comments in Edinburgh at the inaugural Bob McLean lecture, held in memory of the late Scottish home rule campaigner.

On immigration, he said: “Unless we can find a way of putting three-year-olds in front of computer terminals Scotland will need to import skills and labour for decades.”

He will add: “Those who favour Union have to acknowledge that right now policy at Westminster is tilting towards a more unpleasant, populist and restrictive approach to immigration that would be a catastrophe for Scotland if it were really implemented.”