Victim of hate crime: The late Jo Cox MP [Image: PA].

One hopes nobody in the Tory government is patting him- or herself on the back after seeing the latest immigration figures; they represent a triumph of violence over reason.

Yes, the Office for National Statistics is reporting that immigration has fallen by 23,000, while emigration has risen by 26,000, meaning net migration has fallen below 300,000 (to 273,000) for the first time in more than four years.

But this is no reason for Theresa May to feel relief.

It is a reflection of a 41 per cent rise in hate crime in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, in which the UK voted to leave the European Union by a tiny majority.

Data from 31 police forces showed that 1,546 racially or religiously aggravated offences were recorded in the two weeks up to and including the day of the referendum in June last year.

But in the fortnight immediately after the poll, the number climbed by almost half to 2,241.

Racist incidents included assaults, arson attacks and dog excrement being thrown at doors or shoved through letter boxes.

That is why foreign nationals are leaving the United Kingdom. The referendum result and its aftermath have allowed this country’s racists to come out of the closet, and encouraged them to attack their fellow human beings for no better reason than their country of origin.

Is Nigel Farage proud of this? He probably is.

What about Boris Johnson or Michael Gove? Theresa May? How about David Cameron, who only called the referendum because he wanted to prevent Eurosceptic Conservative MPs from causing a split in the party?

Perhaps they don’t care – after all, rich Tories aren’t being targeted, and Johnny Foreigner was only invited in to provide cheap labour.

Isn’t that right, Tories?

Perhaps all these politicians should remember that one of their own class was murdered in a race-related hate crime.

Jo Cox was killed by Thomas Mair, a right-wing white supremacist who targeted her for murder because she campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union.

Only yesterday, in Prime Minister’s Questions, MPs on both sides of the House of Commons cheered plans to mark the first anniversary of the MP’s death with a series of street parties around the country – the Great Get Together – designed to bring communities together.

It would be hypocritical for them to applaud a drop in net migration fuelled by the same hate that ended Mrs Cox’s life.

The fact that violence is the real reason net migration has fallen means this is not a success for the United Kingdom and Theresa May.

As a nation, we should be ashamed.

Net migration to Britain fell by 49,000 to 273,000 in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, partly fuelled by 12,000 more Poles and other eastern Europeans leaving the UK, according to official figures.

The fall in annual net immigration … will come as a relief to Theresa May, who has recently renewed her target to get it below 100,000.

A key component in the unexpected fall was an estimated 41,000 drop in the number of international students coming to study in Britain, to 134,000, the lowest level since 2002.

Source: Net migration to UK falls by 49,000 after Brexit vote | UK news | The Guardian

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