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Wobbly Willetts attacked by Mail for challenging Coalition's immigration policy

By Tim Montgomerie

WILLETTS READY 4 CHANGE It's not just Vince Cable who is unhappy with the Coalition's immigration policy. The Daily Mail has this morning attacked Universities Minister David Willetts, from Cable's department, for lobbying against the Coalition's attempt to reduce the number of student visas:

"Only yesterday, official figures showed that Labour handed out an astonishing 344,396 student visas last year (many of them to bogus claimants). Yet now it emerges the Coalition is hatching plans to bypass its promised cap on immigration and issue even more. Under an extraordinary ‘swap deal’, the idea is to allow thousands more foreign students to come to the UK, if a similar number of our students study abroad. Universities Minister David ‘Two-Brains’ Willetts is said to favour it, arguing that our institutions depend on high fees paid by foreigners. But as British teenagers vie for increasingly scarce places, shouldn’t one brain be enough to tell him his scheme is as daft as it’s devious?"

Fortunately David Cameron is standing firm against any attempt to dilute Coalition policy, as is Home Secretary Theresa May who regards immigration control and police reform as her two top priorities.

Immigration was one of the Conservative leader's non-negotiables when, on 6th May, he first made his "comprehensive offer" to Nick Clegg. The pledge to cut net immigration to the tens of thousands from the hundreds of thousands was not in the Coalition Agreement but was directly referred to in briefing documents attached to the Queen's Speech.

David Willetts is a hugely talented member of the Government but he shouldn't be talking to the press about his honest doubts about a policy that was a key manifesto pledge.


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