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"Like leaving Wayne Rooney on the bench"

B9fd6938363b9ef93669a9b8dea5-grande "Like leaving Wayne Rooney on the bench" was how I described the Tories' continuing decision to downplay the issue of immigration. The quote features in today's FT.

Fraser Nelson addresses the 'I' word - and its link to Britain's employment crisis - in The Telegraph:

"Unpublished figures sent on request to The Spectator show that 98.5 per cent of jobs created for working-age people since Labour came to power are accounted for by immigration. Britain's boom was great news for the unemployed of Gdansk, but failed to transform Glasgow. And this cuts to the heart of what is, arguably, the greatest and most deplorable of Brown's economic failures: failing to find (as he memorably put it) British jobs for British workers... Mass immigration gave Labour the option not to deal with welfare reform. The party took it, and the result can be seen in the welfare ghettoes of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow – and in the Babel-like atmosphere of the Olympic village, with workers from around the world, but local unemployment as high as ever."

Grayling-Chris-On-Politics- Fraser focuses on the need for welfare reform to get the 'unemployed of Glasgow into work. IDS is the right man for the job, he recommends. On the subject of immigration Chris Grayling has set out the policy:

"The reality is that our current level of population growth is unsustainable.

We have to bring down the level of net immigration to a more sustainable level.

So the open door to Britain of Labour’s thirteen years in Government will end if a Conservative Government is elected in May.

There will be an annual limit on the number of people given work permits for the UK. And our priority will be to attract those with the biggest contribution to make to our society – as investors, as inventors and as highly skilled additions to our workforce.

There will be language tests for spouses seeking to come and live in the UK. If you can’t speak our language, how can you possibly play a part in life here?

There will be tougher rules to stamp out abuses of the student visa system. The Government has admitted that student visas have been the biggest weakness in our border controls. We want to continue to attract students from around the world to our universities and colleges, but a student visa should not be seen as a permanent entry visa.

So we will have a system of deposits for most overseas students coming to study at colleges in the UK. Deposits which will be lost if they overstay their visas.

And we will end the ability to transfer between courses within country, and Tier Two applicants will have to go home at the end of their study before they will be allowed to apply for a work permit.

We need to take real steps to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. All too often those who have no right to be here just stay with no consequences. We’ll change that by establishing a  dedicated border police force so we crack down properly on illegal immigration.

Many of our immigrant communities play an important part in British life. But we cannot go on with the level of migration we have seen under Labour.

Our goal will be simple. To return the level of immigration to where it was in the 1980s and 1990s, when net migration was in the tens of thousands each year and not the hundreds of thousands we have seen under Labour."

As I wrote last week, Cameron needs to use the election debates to showcase these policies.

Tim Montgomerie


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