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Unconvinced voters need more from Cameron on immigration

An ICM poll for the News of the World finds that nearly two-thirds of voters do not believe that the main parties have "credible" policies on immigration. Only 20% think that the Conservative plan for a yearly cap on immigration will work.

The NotW survey coincides with the latest 'Head2Head' Q&A in the News of the World.  This week Alan Johnson and Chris Grayling answer readers' questions on immigration.  Read the Q&A here.

Public confidence in politicians' promises on immigration will be further undermined by revelations from a Blair insider that Labour used higher immigration to attempt to turn Britain into a more multicultural society.  Immigrants have always tended to be more Labour-minded in their voting habits:

"Andrew Neather, who worked for Mr Straw when he was Home Secretary, and as a speech writer for Mr Blair, claimed a secret Government report in 2000 called for mass immigration to change Britain's cultural make-up forever... Mr Neather said there was a 'driving political purpose' behind Labour's decision to allow in  hundreds of thousands of migrants to plug gaps in the labour market.  He said the stance was foreshadowed by a report by Mr Blair's Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) think-tank, which said the nation would benefit from more migrants. Mr Neather claimed that earlier, unpublished versions of the report made clear that one aim was to make Britain more multi-cultural for political reasons. 'I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended - even if this wasn't its main purpose - to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date,' he said."

In today's Sunday Telegraph James Forsyth says that the BNP's Nick Griffin has been revealed as an inadequate politician but that mainstream politicians should never again write off the poorer communities in which the BNP has performed.  In the most important article in today's press, John Rentoul - coming from the Left - notes how the BNP is a product of Labour failure:

"The BNP is Labour's creature; its supporters are working-class voters who feel that they have been let down by a Labour government. BNP success is a measure of Labour's failure; of the collapse of the New Labour coalition of the white working class and the liberal middle class."

Read the full piece.

The Tory leadership is frightened that to talk about immigration would risk its decontamination of the party brand.  Nicholas Soames MP called this a cowardly position earlier in the week.  Team Cameron underestimates its success at improving the Conservative reputation.  A strong message on immigration would work better today because of Cameron's reasonable personality and also his ability to twin a tough message on border control with a genuine commitment to the poorest people of the world.

Tim Montgomerie


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