07 May 2010

UK immigration was a key issue for the General Election 2010, say analysts

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Immigration to the UK proved to be one of the key issues in the General Election 2010, and the only issue to have a specific question in all three of the leader’s debates.

Right from the start of the campaign Gordon Brown’s pledges for balanced UK immigration were continually called into question, and equally Nick Clegg received critical attacks for his planned amnesty for illegal immigrants and his regional migration policy.

Although faring better than Brown and Clegg, David Cameron did not escape unscathed. He was continually pressed to announce a figure on his proposed annual cap on the number of foreigners coming to Britain.

Seizing on widespread public concerns about UK immigration, the BNP had a strong big to gain a seat in the House of Commons. The BNP failed, however, to win any seats in Westminster. 

The announcement only days into the campaign of official figures indicating that about 98 per cent of new jobs created under the Labour Government had been filled by UK immigrants was a serious blow to Mr Brown.

Laura Roberts of The Telegraph contends that it was with Mr Brown’s encounter with Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy that UK immigration proved the source of the Labour leader’s most damaging gaffe.

Mr Clegg’s promise to allow illegal immigrants who had been in Britain for 10 years to remain in the country, estimated to be more than a million people, and the Liberal Democrat plan to use the immigration points-based system push migrants into regional areas were ridiculed.

The Tory plan to impose a cap on net immigration was also dismissed by opponents as “complete nonsense” because a cap cannot stop EU citizens from coming to Britain to live and work.

UK election results show that the Conservatives are on course to be the largest party in a hung parliament, with more than 600 results declared as of 10am Friday 7 May.

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