Tory MP's group wants net migration target dropped

 
David Cameron with Theresa May at a Border Agency visit in 2010 David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May want net migration cut

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Prime Minister David Cameron is being urged to drop his pledge to cut net migration to "the tens of thousands".

The call comes from a new Tory campaign group, Managed Migration, which claims the support of up to 20 Tory MPs.

The group's organiser, Conservative MP Mark Field, warned Mr Cameron against getting into "a Dutch auction" over immigration numbers and said he could not "out-UKIP UKIP".

But Mr Cameron said the target was still "important".

"It is right to target a reduction in immigration," he said on a visit to Hull.

"If you look at immigration from outside the European Union, it is down by a third and it is at its lowest level since 1998 and we have to keep working towards that important target."

However, Mr Field, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said the target was "impractical", harmed Britain's global competitiveness and was clearly not going to be met.

'Wrong signals'

"Very few voters out there believe we can deliver on it and, indeed, all the evidence suggests it is now moving in the wrong direction," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"And, of course, very few businesses - and I feel that very close to my heart, representing the sort of seat I do - believe it is practical.

"And it risks, in my view, sending out the wrong signals about our openness - and Britain's traditional openness - as a trading nation, to the world at large."

He said recent big increases in net migration were a sign that the UK's economy was recovering strongly.

Chart showing migration figures 2004-13

"We have been victims of our own success. One of the reasons we are not able to achieve the net migration figure is that we are so outperforming our European neighbours that many people are coming from Spain and Portugal and France to these shores, and fewer people want to leave, so therefore net migration is going up and up."

He said he was not not calling for David Cameron to drop the net migration target immediately - but said it should not be in the Conservative Party's next election manifesto.

"We need a more calm debate about this going forward.

"And I think the difficulty is we are not going to be able to out-UKIP UKIP. I have a lot of respect for Nigel Farage but he has very different views on this to me."

'Still time'

Net migration is the difference between the numbers of people moving to live in the UK and the numbers of people leaving.

The latest figures show net annual migration rose 58,000 to 212,000 in the year to September 2013.

Although levels steadily declined in 2012 after tighter restrictions on non-EU migrants took effect, the trend has since reversed - largely due to the increase in the number of migrants from other EU countries.

At the Westminster launch of his Conservatives for a Managed Migration group, he denied being a lone voice, despite no other Conservative MPs attending the event.

Mark Field calls for an end to the "artificial and arbitrary" target figure of 100,000 net immigrants a year in the UK

He said he hoped to get more MPs on board but said "many times" his colleagues had told him they agreed with his view but said "we are worried about UKIP and therefore we would rather not be publicly associated".

Labour immigration spokesman David Hanson said: "Labour has long called for a calm and rational discussion about immigration, so we welcome Mark Field's opposition to the shrill and ineffective approach adopted by their own Government."

Conservative chairman Grant Shapps said earlier this month that there was "still time" for the target to be met.

But Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable has repeatedly called for it to be dropped - and angered immigration minister James Brokenshire by saying recent increases in net migration were "good news".

 

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  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1131.

    30. 010101010
    6 HOURS AGO
    Perpetual importation of cheap labour is just a Ponzi scheme and like all such schemes they will collapse.

    Yes well said it is just that a Ponzi scheme bringing more and more younger people to work will also get old and be dependents by that time we will need a million more each year to serve the old.

    completely unsustaniable

    Complete Madness and Dave cares not.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1130.

    Jack Napier. You should go out more. England is the second most densely populated region in Europe (after Malta). Round our way green fields are the only option for house building and the whole country is gradually turning into an urban sprawl. How are we going to feed the over 100 million people occupying the country by 2050 when the countryside is covered in housing?

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 1129.

    Congratulations to Mark Field for standing out against the mainstream Tory view. Managed migration is good for jobs for locals, good for UK economy especially in our USP as a global hub, good for our public servioces and good for our tax revenues and a lifeline for our great Universities. At same time, businesses need to recruit locally, bring on apprentices and be rooted in community.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1128.

    My personal belief is that our current batch of politicians from the 3 main parties are lying b-------- and will say anything to keep in power and get our votes. whilst in reality not caring on iota about us or what we feel !
    I feel we need to get rid of the current parties by any means & get politicians who represent our views and desires

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1127.

    #1122 well you havnt been around the se of england or aberdeen or the latvian dossers drinking cans in peterhead town centre..thats the trouble with the uk the politicians and middle classes are so out of touch...just look around the place is crawling with immigrants...

 

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  86.  
    10:08: Age discrepancy BBC News Channel

    "The slowness of this recovery seems to me to be quite unprecedented," says Jonathan Portes, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. He's being asked about the IFS's report out today. Mr Portes also points out something we spotted too, that George Osborne avoided answering when it was put to him on the BBC News Channel earlier that people over 60 are getting richer while younger people aren't.

     
  87.  
    09:52: Immigration cap

    Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, told the Today programme a week ago that existing limits on skilled migrants were "draconian". He said the fact the government couldn't block EU migrants meant all the burden fell on those people coming from outside the EU, "and that's really damaging". "They should be able to come here freely if they are qualified and able and many of them have been students here and often have to leave rather than work in the country they have come to call home," he added.

     
  88.  
    @asabenn Asa Bennett, @HuffPostUK business reporter

    tweets: Ukip's migration cap joins the flat tax and their 2010 manifesto in the "dumped by @Nigel_Farage" list

     
  89.  
    09:42: Coming up later Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Transport minister Claire Perry and shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn join Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They'll look ahead to the election with Tim Farron from the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP MP Mark Reckless will be on to discuss his party's immigration plans. Journalist and editor of Briebart UK James Delingpole will say why he thinks obese people are putting too much of a strain on the NHS, and there will be live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. Desktop users can watch the programme live, or later, via the Live Coverage tab above.

     
  90.  
    09:40: Existing immigration cap

    It's also probably worth pointing out that last week, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the current cap on skilled migrants entering the UK from outside the European Union - yes there already is one - of 20,700 annually was "damaging and restrictive" to the UK economy. It called on the government to raise the limit.

    In theory, as they argue, UKIP would be able to bring net migration down very swiftly if the UK were to leave the EU as they desire. Last week, official figures showed 57% of those coming to the UK were from Europe.

     
  91.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome.com

    tweets: Farage: "Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20k + 50k". From cap to target to ambition. And now an 'intention'

     
  92.  
    09:32: Salary target

    On the subject of migrants' salaries, you might be interested to know that Nigel Farage pays his wife, who was born in Germany, £27,000 a year to be his secretary. Here's the Daily Mail's story from last year about that.

     
  93.  
    09:28: 'Unskilled mass migration' BBC News Channel

    Pressed further by the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith over his immigration policy, Nigel Farage says: "We need a degree of flexibility over what we need, and what we don't need is the continued mass migration into the UK of unskilled workers. Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20,000 and 50,000." He says the media are "obsessed by targets, let's talk about policy".

     
  94.  
    09:27: Policy muddle? BBC News Channel

    Mr Farage is asked if he is just making policy up as he goes along? He says not. He repeats his claim that 27,000 people would have come into the UK under the points system UKIP is proposing. "Some years it will be more, but at the moment net migration is running at 10 times what it was for most of last 50 years of the 20th century," he says.

     
  95.  
    09:25: Minimum salary BBC News Channel

    Asked if people coming to the UK would need to meet a minimum income target of £27,000 - something they had been expected to announce - Mr Farage says: "There will be no statement that it will be £27,000. It is likely to be £27,000. What we want is people who come to the UK with a skill, who don't have a criminal record or life threatening illness," he adds.

     
  96.  
    09:22: UKIP migration U-turn BBC News Channel

    Au contraire, says UKIP leader Nigel Farage, "it isn't a U-turn". "I don't think we get anywhere near 50,000," he says. Under an Australian points-based system only 27,000 people would have been admitted to the UK last year, he insists.

     
  97.  
    09:21: UKIP migration U-turn Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    It looks like UKIP are going to be completing a policy U-turn on immigration targets today. That's after UKIP's immigration spokesman Steve Woolfe told the BBC last week that the party was committed to a migration target of 50,000 coming to work in the UK, only for his party leader to claim UKIP would not commit to a target in a Daily Telegraph article today.

     
  98.  
    @JamesTapsfield James Tapsfield, Press Association

    tweets: Now describing Ukip net immigration target as a "range" of between 20k and 50k

     
  99.  
    09:16: UKIP immigration policy BBC News Channel

    "There isn't a U-turn, there's a change in emphasis," says Nigel Farage, when pressed whether his immigration policy has changed.

     
  100.  
    @LadPolitics Ladbrokes Politics

    tweets: UKIP heading for 6 seats according to @GoodwinMJ - currently 10/1

    Election briefing by Matthew Goodwin, associate professor of politics at Nottingham University
     

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