Migration Target ‘Blown Off Course’ Says May

“No ifs, no buts” – the Prime Minister on his pledge to get net migration down to tens of thousands by May 2015.

Well today, those ifs, those buts came with Theresa May admitting that the target had been “blown off course” because of internal EU migration.

And that was down to Britain’s booming economy.

Immigration has become the dominant issue in British politics, costing the Conservatives two seats and causing splits within Labour.

While ministers have privately admitted for some time that the target couldn’t be met, Theresa May’s admission today is significant.

Not just on colouring the Conservatives record in the last Parliament but the impact it will have on the next.

If the Tories do start re-negotiating with the rest of the EU on Britain’s place in it, they’ve made clear the principle of the free movement will be on the agenda.

Changes to that principle and further toughening of access to benefits, Downing Street believes will help to combat the threat from UKIP.

But not everyone agrees. In an interview that will irritate the Tory leadership, Ken Clarke on Sky News hit out time and time again on their approach to immigration.

The former Chancellor and Home Secretary said talking about the economy was “a damn sight more sensible than ‘how can we be rude to Europeans to cheer up UKIP?”‘

“What we mustn’t do is keep trailing all kinds of suggestions of things we can think of that might be nasty to Europeans on the benefit front,” he said.

The continued rise of UKIP, the ratcheting up of language and increased pressure on achieving success in Europe is piling pressure on David Cameron and on a keynote speech he is due to deliver on immigration before Christmas.

He has long argued that Britain’s best place is remaining part of the European Union, albeit a reformed EU.

But with the issue now so firmly wedded to immigration and large questions over what can be achieved in any re-negotiation, the Prime Minister may well box himself into arguing for Britain to leave.

And that’s not a box he wants to find himself in.

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23 November 2014 | 4:05 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

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