David Cameron's immigration speech sets alarm bells ringing. Literally.

Video: The prime minister's big speech on immigration was briefly interrupted.

Click to follow
The Independent Online

David Cameron always knew his speech detailing new immigration plans was going to cause a stir; his Tory recipe to combat Ukip's rise and settle the party ship before next May's election.

Yet while he knew the speech would send Labour and Ukip into a spin, he did not expect his words to set alarm bells literally ringing.

As the prime minister delivered his statement at JCB headquarters in Staffordshire, alarm bells started to go off on the factory floor, interrupting Cameron mid-sentence.

"This has clearly set off alarm bells in the European Commission, which has a direct link back here to JCB, but I'm glad that it's had that effect" the prime minister quipped.

He then takes a sip from his glass of water and attempts to continue, before stopping again and asking, "How we getting on?"

He then used the moment to provide a well-oiled Cameron annecdote.

"We will have a brief pause while we stop the...I once gave a speech at a car plant where actually they didn't stop the car plant operating so had to speak louder and louder as more and more cars came off the production line.

"I'm sorry to interrupt production at JCB. I know demand is high,I know your products are superb...I promise as soon as I'm finished you can get lines working again."

Cameron announced plans today to ban European Union nationals from claiming in-work benefits in Britain for four years and deport those who do not find jobs within six months.

He also said that he was ready to lead Britain out of the European Union if other states did not accept such tough proposals to cut immigration.

He did still state that he wanted to campaign for an "In" vote in the referendum on EU membership he has promised for 2017 if the Conservatives win a majority at the next election in 2015.

"If you elect me as Prime Minister in May, I will negotiate to reform the European Union, and Britain's relationship with it," he said.

"If I succeed, I will, as I have said, campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU.

"If our concerns fall on deaf ears and we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out."

The Government was reeling yesterday from new figures revealing a dramatic leap in net annual migration to more than a quarter of a million, which it blames on a surge of new arrivals from the EU.

The sharp increase – one of the biggest on record – left the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by next year’s general election in ruins.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 583,000 people moved to the UK over the period, a “statistically significant increase” from the 502,000 in the previous 12 months. It included a 45,000 rise from the EU and 30,000 from outside the EU, undermining Government claims that immigration totals are being driven by new arrivals from within the EU.

Additional reporting by the AP.

Comments