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...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1126.

    1117.politicsofenvy
    "If it looks like a duck.."

    And if you wish to debate, stay on topic and stop being aggressive.
    =
    I am trying to stay on topic; you're the one talking about guns for some reason…
    And you're calling me "aggressive?" Ha! I apologise if I am, but at least you got my name right (for once), but still insult me above (duck etc).

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1125.

    1106.Henry Hazlitt
    "Immigration does not lower wages." I disgaree, I havea general builder friend who charged £120 a day+materials. He is being undercut by migrants and dropped his salary to £100, he has now changed jobs. I have a friend who was a plasterer, same problem. The same for a guy who runs a fencing firm, a gardener and a carpenter. The difference is many migransts live 6 to a flat.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1124.

    Thought this would happen. THe moment unemployment started dropping big business would start panicking that there won't be enough docile cheap labour to go around. Knee-jerk solution, more immigration.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1123.

    Our target should be zero immigration and persuading, preferably peacefully, foreigners to go home. I'm not going to vote UKIP anymore, I need to vote 2 steps right of the Tories and go BNP.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1122.

    1116.musictechguy.

    The Tories need to grow some and tackle the biggest problem this country has ever faced: horrendous overcrowding due to excessive immigration.

    ---

    Where exactly in the UK is this 'horrendous overcrowding'?

    I travel widely all over this island & the only time I've ever had my movement impeded by 'horrendous crowds' has bee at football matches & music festivals.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1121.

    //Tanglewood
    Would it be a problem 100% of new mothers are not "foreign born"? /..

    Yelling 'racist' was never a good idea, and it certainly doesn't work now, in shutting down debate.

    Immigration and multiculty supporters are not shy in using race to support their arguments, so they can't criticise others for using it to demolish them.

    The racism is in your dual standards.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1120.

    This sort of attitude confirms how politicians have felt for the past 40 years. They don't care who comes here or the effect it has on the existing population.

    There isn't enough housing to meet demand. So house prices are sky-high. Thousands of people are unemployed because outsiders come and take the available jobs. It's high time the politicians woke up to the need to limit immigration.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1119.

    1092. Dominic - Makes for an interesting read, however I don't think it's findings quell the debate on immigration.
    What I do live with though are the effects of mass immigration around me daily and that's something no skewed paper or report can manipulate to their own political cause.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1118.

    1089. Alaric the Visigoth said:-
    ' ..... Change is a fact of life.'

    Indeed - but there is more than one form of change!
    Beneficial change, as in constructive progress and,
    Detrimental change, as in becoming a minority in one's own country.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1117.

    1086.Henry Hazlitt
    ----
    "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.'

    And if you wish to debate, stay on topic and stop being aggressive.

    Ideology is a mask used to disguise the true intentions of politicians pursuing an agenda, like immigration, that they know the public won't like.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1116.

    .

    The Tories need to grow some and tackle the biggest problem this country has ever faced: horrendous overcrowding due to excessive immigration.

    .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1115.

    1104.Brucey - Look at France, just this week the extremely racist Front National made humongous gains in local elections - winning some outright. Scary times and all self made by ignorant politicians.



    History tells us that in hard economic times people want a scapegoat & politicians giving easy answers to complicated problems appeal to the 'finger pointers'.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1114.

    1070. bored23

    The increase in UK population over the past decade almost mirrors the increase in net migration, c240,000 per annum. The reproduction rate has been static over this period.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1113.

    When it comes to Eastern Europeans coming here for a better standard of life;Wouldn't it make more sense for the EU to help these countries get on their feet,which they're never going to do if their young people keep leaving.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 1112.

    #1093: "We have a baby boom going on, but according to the latest figures nearly a quarter of new mothers are foreign born"

    Is the issue population growth? Would it be a problem 100% of new mothers are not "foreign born"? The fact that you raise people's nationality at all shows that you think of society as being split into different groups based on their origin - what is that if not racist?

 

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    tweets: Nick Clegg: The time for change has come; we need to implement evidence-based #DrugPolicy that works @RichardBranson

    Nick Clegg and Richard Branson at drugs event
     
  50.  
    13:18: Lending woes BBC Radio 4

    Steve Brittan, chief executive of company BSA Machine Tools, says it's all well and good telling businesses they need to invest, but without banks willing to lend them money to do so it's impossible for them to compete against their rivals, let alone expand their businesses.

     
  51.  
    13:17: All in it together BBC Radio 4

    "It's not just for government to solve this problem however," Mr Beatson says. There are things that only government can do, invest in infrastructure, for example and regulating industry. But it's also about businesses making investment. Productivity isn't about how hard you work it's about the return you get on your investment, he adds

     
  52.  
    13:15: Productivity worries BBC Radio 4

    The IFS report on living standards remains one of the big stories of the day. On The World at One, Mark Beatson, chief economist at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), says lower productivity has been a nagging concern since 1998, but we're now in an unprecedented world where productivity is lower than it was in 2008 despite the economic recovery.

     
  53.  
    13:10: Clegg drugs speech

    Nick Clegg is now giving his speech on drugs that we've been trailing this morning. "If you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform," he tells the audience in London.

     
  54.  
    13:06: IFS report James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    The Conservatives' great fear in this election is that they will experience a voteless recovery - all the stats say it's getting better but people don't feel that on the ground - and wont show it at the ballot box. They hope the IFS report will help convince the public that things really are improving.

     
  55.  
    13:00: Lunchtime recap:
    • Ed Miliband attacks David Cameron over his record on immigration at PMQs - the latter lists his other achievements in office, but admits that immigration from within the EU has risen.
    • The Labour leader also asks the PM to say if he will take part in a head-to-head TV election debate. Mr Cameron says "we're having a debate now" and in terms of the TV events, he wants to "get on with the debates before the election campaign"
    • Nigel Farage has given a big speech outlining his desire to return immigration to "normal" levels, with between 20,000 and 50,000 migrants given work permits each year.
    • But the UKIP leader has spent much of the morning insisting he hasn't performed a U-turn on the issue of whether he's setting a formal immigration cap. His spokesman Steven Woolfe said last week he wanted a cap of 50,000, but Mr Farage says he - and the public - have "had enough of caps and targets".
    • Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell has paid £80,000 in damages to Pc Toby Rowland, the office at the centre of the plebgate row
    • The Liberal Democrats' manifesto will include a pledge to hand drugs policy from the Home Office to the Department of Health, Nick Clegg is to say.
     
  56.  
    12:56: Migration target Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Labour's Hilary Benn says it was unwise of the prime minister to make the promise on net migration, and criticises Ms Perry for trying to "blame everyone else". Asked what Labour's plan is, he says the party would have a "fair" immigration policy that requires migrants to the UK to contribute. "That's what we're doing," Ms Perry intervenes.

     
  57.  
    12:55: Jobs factory Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Over to the MPs panel now, and transport minister Claire Perry concedes that the government had not met the target. But she says that no-one could have predicted the UK would become the "jobs factory of Europe", which is why migration to the UK has increased, she adds. Ms Perry stresses the government's "commitment" to bringing down immigration.

     
  58.  
    12:51: Miliband's tactics Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Guardian's Nick Watt predicts that Ed Miliband will not want to define his election campaign on immigration, but rather on the cost of living. "But for today's purposes he felt he had a clear way of getting a clear win on immigration, and clearly the prime minister was uneasy," he adds.

     
  59.  
    12:49: PMQs analysis Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Let's go back to the Daily Politics for a moment, where we're getting some reaction to PMQs. Guardian commentator Nick Watt says the PM clearly knew what was coming on immigration. He knew that Ed Miliband would mention David Cameron's pre-election "contract with Britain", and so had a copy to hand to reel off commitments that had been met, he added.

     
  60.  
    12:44: Coming up in the Commons House of Commons Parliament

    That brings an end to this week's Prime Minister's Questions and in a short while MPs will turn their attention to the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Bill, which is going through its final stages in the Commons.

     
  61.  
    12:40: Hospital failures

    Labour MP John Woodcock raised a question, before the session ended, on Furness General Hospital, after an investigation rules that a "lethal mix" of failures led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother. David Cameron says it is a "very important report", adding that the government wanted to see many of its recommendations implemented. Where there are problems in the NHS it is important not to sweep them under the carpet but be open and honest about them, he says, adding that his heart goes out to all those whose children died at the hospital.

     
  62.  
    12:39: Pic: Cameron, Clegg and Hague
    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and William Hague
     
  63.  
    12:35: Energy prices

    Labour MP Iain Mckenzie's attempt to attack David Cameron over the government's energy reforms backfires slightly, as the PM uses it as an opportunity to go on an attack of his own, by making fun of Labour's "price freeze" which he said would increase consumers' bills as energy costs have fallen.

     
  64.  
    12:33: Nursery first aid

    Lib Dem MP Mark Hunter asks the prime minister if he supports a campaign to ensure that all nursery staff are qualified in paediatric first aid, and if so, if he will seek to hurry up a government review on the matter. David Cameron says it makes sense for as many people as possible to have that sort of training, and promises to speak to the relevant minister in charge of the review.

     
  65.  
    12:32: Child protection

    Labour MP Meg Munn says it is time to make child protection "much more central" within the Ofsted process and ensure every school is inspected on this area regularly, even if they are rated "outstanding". David Cameron says he will look carefully at her suggestion.

     
  66.  
    @EmilyThornberry Emily Thornberry, Labour MP

    tweets: Cameron refuses to rule out putting up tuition fees if re-elected #pmqs

     
  67.  
    12:30: Tuition fees

    Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP, uses her question to ask the PM to rule out increasing tuition fees any further. David Cameron says universities are now better funded, with the number of students having increased, including from poorer backgrounds. Labour has taken four years to work out its own "useless" policy, which hits universities and helps rich students rather than poor ones. It represents the "chaos" that a Labour government would bring, he adds.

     
  68.  
    @CLeslieMP Charlotte Leslie, Tory MP

    tweets: In #PMQs. Never seen anyone look so upset that youth unemployment's gone down as the people opposite me.Just Wow.Election time IS here. :-(

     
  69.  
    12:29: Pic: All eyes on the PM
    David Cameron
     
  70.  
    12:27: Long term plan

    A question from Conservative MP Guy Opperman provides David Cameron with a rather helpful opportunity to set out his "long-term economic plan" for the north east. He goes on to list of what he says are the government's economic achievements.

     
  71.  
    12:26: Minimum wage

    Labour MP Julie Elliot criticises the government over what she sees as its failure on the national minimum wage, which prompts David Cameron to defend his record in this area, citing steps taken to enhance enforcement of the law.

     
  72.  
    @jreedmp Jamie Reed, Labour MP

    tweets: #pmqs Dave extolling the benefits of pubs. I hear they make a great place to leave the kids...

     
  73.  
    12:25: British beer industry

    "I bring the House good news," declares Andrew Griffiths, who tells MPs that British beer sales are up for the first time in a decade - praising the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and cuts in beer duty. He calls for further cuts to the beer duty. David Cameron praises Mr Griffith's campaign work in this area, adding that the government has been a "good friend" to pubs and the beer industry.

     
  74.  
    12:25: Pic: Opposition benches
    David Cameron faces the opposition benches

    David Cameron faces the opposition benches.

     
  75.  
    @gabyhinsliff Gaby Hinsliff, Grazia

    tweets: Seriously unconvinced there's any point whatsoever to #pmqs at this point in the electoral cycle.

     
  76.  
    @IsabelHardman Isabel Hardman, The Spectator

    tweets: That sound is the nails being screwed into the coffin of the TV debates #PMQs. Or else it's the sound of Labour MPs making chicken noises

     
  77.  
    @tnewtondunn Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun

    tweets: Only 10 Labour MPs put their hands up when Cameron asked how many would use Ed's pic in leaflets. Can't believe they fell for that #PMQs

     
  78.  
    @JGForsyth James Forsyth, the Spectator

    tweets: Sign of Tory discipline that Fox's question was about Trident not spending 2% of GDP on defence

     
  79.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC News

    tweets: PM ducks two offers from Ed Miliband to do the head to head tv debate the broadcasters have offered #pmqs

     
  80.  
    12:21: Nuclear weapons

    Liam Fox, former Tory defence secretary, seeks assurances that David Cameron would not agree to scrap the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system in any future coalition negotiations. Mr Cameron reaffirms his commitment to the deterrent and says Labour needs to rule out any possibility of a coalition with the SNP, who have said the scrapping of Trident would be a red line in any coalition negotiations.

     
  81.  
    12:19: David Ward question

    Lib Dem David Ward asks the PM whether he feels his and Ed Miliband's behaviour at Prime Minister's Questions either enhances or damages the image of Parliament. In his reply, the prime minister acknowledges it is "inevitably a robust exchange" but says there is always room for improvement. PMQs has an important function, in that it holds government to account, he adds.

     
  82.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, Politics Home

    tweets: Real prob with Ed M saying he'll attend head to head debate on Apr 30, even if Cam doesn't: TV unlikely to empty chair a 2-way

     
  83.  
    12:18: In touch?

    Labour backbencher David Winnick says he doesn't want to be personal but... the PM "doesn't understand" the lives of people who try to live on modest incomes. The Conservatives remain the party of the rich and privileged, he adds. David Cameron responds that 1.85 million more people are now in work as a result of the government's policies, as he defends his record in office.

     
  84.  
    @IainDale Iain Dale, presenter of LBC Drivetime

    tweets: I can't think anyone can call today's PMQs anything other than a total walkover for @Ed_Miliband. Not often one can say that.

     
  85.  
    12:17: Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian

    tweets: My snap PMQs verdict - PM's bluster machine on overdrive, but Miliband had him bang to rights

     
  86.  
    12:17: Cancer referrals

    On to backbench exchanges now. Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP for Brent North, uses his question to raise concerns about targets for cancer referrals. David Cameron tells him there has been a 50% increase in cancer referrals, and stresses the importance of early diagnosis. He also underlines the need to keep on with the Cancer Drugs Fund.

     
  87.  
    12:16: Pic: Miliband asks a question
    House of Commons
     
  88.  
    12:14: TV debates?

    Ed Miliband tries once again, asking the PM if he will commit to the debates - which is met with the same reply from the PM, who adds that Mr Miliband wants to avoid debating with the Greens. This gives him the chance to joke that Labour's leader had seen Natalie Bennett's "car crash" interview last week as a "master class". That brings the leaders' exchanges to a close.

     
  89.  
    12:12: TV debates?

    "So it's all about leadership?" responds Ed Miliband - which gets cheers from the Tory backbenchers. The Labour leader changes subjects, and goes on the attack over TV election debates, asking the PM if he will commit to the proposed head-to-head debate with him on 30 April. Mr Cameron does not say he will take part, saying "we're having a debate now" and says Miliband can't talk about jobs or the economy because of the government's success.

     
  90.  
    12:10: Election leaflets

    The PM takes a swipe at Ed Miliband whom he says Labour MPs do not want to feature on their election leaflets. He asks for a show of hands for those going to feature Mr Miliband on their leaflets. Lots of arms are raised on the Conservative benches.

     
  91.  
    12:11: Speaker calls for order House of Commons Parliament
    John Bercow

    Speaker John Bercow tries to quieten noisy MPs, telling them they should consider what their rowdiness looks like to the public, whose votes they will be seeking soon.

     
  92.  
    @DJack_Journo David Jack, The Times

    tweets: Cheeky of Miliband to attack Cam on migration given Labour's open-doors policy #PMQs

     
  93.  
    @georgeeaton George Eaton, The New Statesman

    tweets: Challenge for Miliband is to criticise Cameron for breaking a promise without appearing anti-immigration. #PMQs

     
  94.  
    12:08: UKIP immigration policy

    UKIP's immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe says the party's points-based system will work like someone "submitting a CV". "People from anywhere across the world, irrespective of whatever culture, creed, nationality you are, goes onto our system whether its online or through an organisation helping them and puts in their application," he says.

    "If they fit the points they go through to the next stage. Then the Commission will work out what sort of numbers we need for each year. If it says we need 50,000 people that year then we'll have 50,000 visa available and that goes through those people that have passed."

     
  95.  
    12:07: Speaker speaks

    Speaker Bercow is on his feet again, and calls for order (it's getting pretty rowdy in the chamber). Over to Ed Miliband, who says the PM must admit he has broken his promise. David Cameron says he has cut migration from outside the EU but that it has risen from within the EU. He's back to his list of commitments met again.

     
  96.  
    12:07: Promises kept

    After Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of breaking his promise to cut net migration, the PM reels off a list of pledges that he says the government has honoured - much to his backbenchers' delight. Speaker John Bercow cuts him off for taking too long, opening the floor to Ed Miliband who says Mr Cameron's promise on immigration was not worth the paper it's written on.

     
  97.  
    12:06: Pic: Miliband waves migration pledge
    Ed Miliband
     
  98.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror

    tweets: Cameron again refuses to say if he discussed tax avoidance with Lord Green. He did/didn't*(*delete according to politics) #pmqs

     
  99.  
    12:06: Cameron hits back

    David Cameron adds that he wants to keep the economy strong but change the benefits system. Labour wants to protect the benefits system and trash the economy, he adds.

     
  100.  
    12:04: Miliband on immigration

    Ed Miliband is on his feet and begins his questioning on immigration. He says the PM made a "no ifs, no buts" promise to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands and had said people should vote him out if he didn't keep it but now it's higher than when he took office, he says. David Cameron says the strength of the UK economy and the benefits system were the reasons why migration had gone up.

     

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