The Liberal Democrats should lead a national debate on the benefits of immigration, the party’s Scottish leader is to argue.
Willie Rennie will tell the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference that any loss of EU citizens after Brexit could have a devastating economic impact.
And he will call for politicians who “blindly back Brexit” to be sent home, rather than EU citizens.
The one-day conference is being held in Dunfermline.
The Liberal Democrats campaigned to keep Britain in the European Union in 2016, and now want a second referendum to be held once the terms of the Brexit deal have been negotiated.
‘Political car crash’
Mr Rennie will tell the conference that the Conservative government at Westminster will either “betray Leave voters” by back-tracking on promises to cut immigration after Brexit or “trash the economy”.
And he will use his speech to urge people across the country to “stand up for immigration”.
Predicting that a “real political car crash” is on the way, he will add: “If immigration is not cut with Brexit then Leavers will feel betrayed because that is what they voted for.
“If the Conservatives keep that promise, and immigration is cut, it will damage our economy and public services, and even more will feel betrayed because they were not told this would happen.”
Voters in the EU referendum were not told the price of cutting immigration, Mr Rennie will say.
He will add: “The price is a shortage of workers to get food from British farms into the shops.
“The price is a shortage of carers, nurses and GPs. The price is billions of pounds of lost taxes from these jobs. They are already going home and Brexit has not even happened yet.
“Some say that too much immigration is a threat to our way of life. But the truth is that not enough immigration is the real threat to our way of life.
“It’s not the workers from Poland, Romania or Bulgaria who we should fear. We should fear all those political leaders who are blindly backing Brexit. These are the people we should be sending home.”