18 April 2011

Nick Clegg attacks Prime Minister's UK immigration plans

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Nick Clegg has distanced himself from Prime Minister David Cameron's tough comments on immigration, stating that cutting levels was only an "aspiration" and "it's not in the Coalition agreement and I don't think anyone suggests that what we should be doing is pursuing fixed numerical targets in immigration policy."

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Prime Minister Cameron's stance on UK immigration is to bring the numbers of annual entrants down from approx. 200,000 to tens of thousands.

Speaking on The Politics Show on BBC1, the Deputy Prime Minister went on, saying "I wouldn't have used those words, I wouldn’t have used that language.’

However, Mr Clegg did later try to play down the differences in opinion, saying "In terms of the policy, the policy is actually one which we’ve all congregated around".

Regardless. Mr Clegg’s remarks still contradict the Government's previously stated aim to impose a cap on migrants. David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have been unified in their message to the House of Commons that the Government's policies will reduce the number of UK visa grants, so the number of new migrants to the UK will amount to just tens of thousands a year.

The differing opinions held by Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron have lead to Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, attacking the confusing message sent by the Government on UK immigration. "The Tory-led Government's  immigration policy is now in utter chaos", she said.

"Ministers need to explain urgently what on earth their immigration policy now is and whether cabinet ministers are actually prepared to deliver it or not." 

She condluded: ‘We still don't know whether David Cameron's promise to cut net immigration to the tens of thousands is Government policy or not - with the Prime Minister claiming it is, and the Deputy Prime Minister claiming it isn't."


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