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Tory and Labour "cowardice" on immigration is helping BNP, warns Nicholas Soames

Cowardice In an article for The Telegraph - jointly written with Frank Field - NIcholas Soames sets out the scale of the population challenge facing Britain and complains that the mainstream parties' failure to talk about immigration is a gift to the BNP.  Here are the two key quotes:

The scale of the challenge: "Statistics don't usually set the blood racing. But here are a few, published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, that might shake you. In the next 20 years, the population of the UK will rise from 61 million to 70 million – and then go on rising. The bulk of that growth will be due to immigration, which will have added seven million – seven cities the size of Birmingham – to our population by 2034. In the next 10 years alone the British population will rise by four million."

A gift to Nick Griffin: "Gordon Brown's 6,435-word address to the Labour Party conference last month contained a mere 83 words about immigration. At the Conservative conference, David Cameron offered a mere 58 words out of 6,387. So much for the new era of honesty in politics. Politicians' failure to address what voters have always regarded as one of their top two priorities (the other is the economy) has opened the door to the BNP. Nick Griffin does not owe his opportunity to peddle evil views on tonight's Question Time to some faulty judgment of the BBC. His vote in the European elections earned it for him. And that opportunity only arose because of the political cowardice and irresponsibility of the two main parties – but particularly of the Labour Party. Poll after poll shows BNP support coming from ex-Labour voters who believe their party has deserted them on immigration, and failed to represent their interests as underdogs in what until recently was a country characterised by unparalleled prosperity."

Read the two MPs' full article.

MIGRATION WATCH UK Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch makes similar points in this morning's Daily Mail:

"Eighty-four per cent are worried about our population hitting 70million in 20 years or so, including two thirds of our ethnic population. Seventy-one per cent are worried about the impact of immigration, including 45 per cent of the ethnic communities.  You might have thought that the political conference season was the perfect opportunity for the main parties to address these concerns and suggest policies to tackle them. Yet immigration was hardly mentioned. What an amazing gulf there is between the political class and the people.  The beneficiary, of course, is the BNP, which has been left with a wide-open goal. Nick Griffin, due to appear on Question Time this evening, must be delighted."

Join ConHome at 10.30pm for a live blog of BBC1's Question Time with Nick Griffin.

Tim Montgomerie

Grayling-Red-Tie 10.15am: I've been asked to publish the section of Chris Grayling's speech from the Manchester Party Conference which referred to immigration:

"Ladies and Gentlemen. There are two other big priorities for a Conservative Home Office. The first is our immigration system. For twelve years it has been a complete shambles. Uncontrolled immigration. Widespread abuse of our student visa system. Human traffickers exploiting the vulnerable for profit. So let me make things clear today. A Conservative government will be robust in the way it controls immigration. There will be no open door to Britain. Instead we will have a system that treats people fairly and decently. That welcomes those who should be able to come and live here. Like the Gurkhas who have done so much for our country. But we’ll close the gaping hole in our student visa system. We’ll crack down on the traffickers. Britain will have its own, specialist border police force. We will set an annual cap on the number of people who can come and live and work here. I will not tolerate more of the chaos of the past few years."


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