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MigrationWatch warns that extremist groups will benefit from "lightweight" Tory immigration policy

MIGRATION WATCH UK MigrationWatchUK has accused Labour and the Conservatives of "conning" voters over immigration.

Under Labour’s policies, MigrationWatch says, immigration would fall by 8% to 217,000 each year.  Its analysis of Conservative policies suggests that immigration would fall by a significantly larger amount (27%) to 172,000 every year but by not nearly enough to stop the rapid growth in the UK population.  "The annual influx of migrants must be slashed by at least three-quarters to prevent the UK population rising to 70million," reports The Express.

Sir Andrew Green implies that David Cameron is not being straight with voters.  Quoting a Radio Five Live interview in which the Tory leader said that he wanted net migration to be reduced to “the sort of figure it was in the 80s and 90s” Sir Andrew notes that net immigration averaged about 17,000 a year in the 1980s and 45,000 at the time the Conservatives left office.  The Cameroon policy, says MigrationWatch, would leave net immigration at many times the level presided over by Margaret Thatcher.

Sir Andrew issued this statement:

"The main parties talk tough on immigration, but they are trying to ‘con’ the British public. According to Government figures, we can expect almost another 10 million people in England in 20 years time of which seven million will be due to immigration – equivalent to seven cities the size of Birmingham. Current Labour policy won’t begin to address this. The Conservatives are barely better: despite their rhetoric, they have a lightweight policy that sounds tough but won’t deliver.  Until the main parties decide to be honest about an issue crucial to the future of our society and until they get real about the measures needed, extremist groups will continue to have a ball."

The Tory leadership is anxious to avoid immigration dominating the next Conservative election campaign in the way that it dominated the campaign of Michael Howard.  MigrationWatch point to YouGov polling, however, that found 7 out of 10 adults wanting immigration cut by over 80%.  Another poll from last September - again for MigrationWatch - found 33% of voters more likely to vote Conservative if David Cameron were to adopt a policy of Balanced Migration (where emigration equalled immigration).  Only 5% would be less likely to vote Conservative.

We are in classic 'And theory of Conservatism' territory here.  A tough immigration policy on its own might appear harsh.  Coupled, however, with a commitment to help the poorest people of the world (through aid, free trade and humanitarian interventions) it becomes a much more human policy.

Tim Montgomerie


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