Wednesday, 17 July 2024 21:23

Ken Clarke blasts Tory immigration plans as damaging to Britain's economy

Monday, 02 March 2015

Ken Clarke has agreed to leave his role as Justice Secretary but is likely to remain in the Government

Tory big blast Ken Clarke slammed David Cameron today for threatening to “severely” damage the UK economy with his immigration target.

The Prime Minister was left humiliated last week after figures showed net migration hit 280,000 last year - well above his “no ifs, no buts” pledge to get it below 100,000.

It has been reported today there is a growing split at the top of the Tories on whether to cut immigration to that level, with one source quoted as saying the Prime Minister has fumed: "Why on earth are the only people who are really committed to our policy me and Theresa May?”

Mr Clarke, a former Tory Chancellor and Home Secretary, believes cutting net migration to below 100,000 would cause great harm to Britain’s economy.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “I am afraid that the net migration target has proved to be a mistake.

“It has been defended to me as almost returning to the figures to those when I was Home Secretary [1992-93]. This is true, but we weren't in a globalised economy then to the extent we are now.

"We will have to drop the target. It would not be possible to achieve it without damaging our economy quite severely."

Fellow Tory Lady Warsi, who quit her Government role last August over its response to the then-crisis in Gaza, told the Times: "If you set yourself unrealistic targets you are setting yourself up to fail, and, in the long term, turn the whole thing into a bigger issue by fuelling the perception that the Government can't get a grip."

Yesterday, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said her party would focus on illegal immigration and short-term student visas in an effort to bring net migration down.

And current Home Secretary Theresa May restated the Tories' pledge to bring immigration down, suggesting EU migration and coalition partners the Liberal Democrats had contributed to the target being missed.


The Mirror

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