A chaplain to the Queen tipped as a possible contender to be one of the first women bishops says immigration had made British people less emotionally cold and blamed "plain ignorance" for opposition to it.
The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who became the first black female chaplain to the House of Commons, said the UK had changed since she arrived from her native Jamaica in 1979 when she found it "cold".
Appearing on today's Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, she said: "And it wasn't just the atmosphere that was cold. People felt cold. People didn't touch - we talk and we touch".
Asked by host Kirsty Young if that "sense of British restraint" had been "broken down" by immigration, she said: "O h yes and that's one of the great things with regards to immigration and as people have travelled as well they learned it's okay to let your hair down".
Asked why some people are "angry" about the issue, she said: " Plain ignorance frankly and actually a lot of this is being fuelled by the press and I hope my parishioners in parliament will not allow this to set the agenda".
Ms Hudson-Wilkin, who is also vicar to two inner city parishes in Hackney, east London, said she had "no ambition to be a bishop whatsoever" but said she lived "in hope" that women bishops would be accepted in the Church of England.
Ms Hudson-Wilkin, whose chosen tracks included Handel's Zadok The Priest, Respect by Aretha Franklin and Many Rivers To Cross by Jimmy Cliff, took earrings as her luxury item and the collected works of Maya Angelou as her book.