Lib Dem conference: Former minister Sir Andrew Stunell describes party's immigration policy as 'like Germans in 1935'

Former communities and local government minister mocks his party's regional policy in last election and claims Nazi-style checkpoints would have been needed to enforce it

Nazi-style employment restrictions could have been required in order to implement the immigration policy the Liberal Democrats fought the last election on, according to a former minister.

Sir Andrew Stunell mocked the regional immigration policy and raised the possibility that police checkpoints would have been needed to enforce it.

The former communities and local government minister, who helped negotiate the Coalition deal, now heads a working group drawing up a new immigration policy for the Lib Dems.

The BBC reports that he ruled out repeating the idea of a regional immigration policy, telling a fringe event at the party's conference in Glasgow, "How are you going to do that? Is everybody going to have an identity card? Are we going to have police checks?

"Or are they simply going to catch a coach down to London each week? It just doesn't work, I'm sorry. Perhaps we penalise employers who take on people who are only licensed to work in Yorkshire. You could do it.

"You could do it - of course the Germans did it in 1935 - but I don't know that that's exactly the route we want to go down."

His intervention was attacked by Julia Onslow-Cole, of the Migration Matters Trust, a cross-party campaign group, who told the BBC that it was perfectly possible to implement a regional migration policy. She claimed it would just be a matter of linking a visa to a specific job or company.

At the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats pushed the idea of a regional points-based system "to ensure that migrants can only work where they are needed".

Sir Andrew said the system would not have worked, telling the fringe event, "Thank goodness we never had to put that into effect."

Elsewhere Lib Dem cabinet minister David Laws has criticised the Tories' immigration cap, a flagship policy, telling another fringe meeting that it was meaningless as it did not include EU migration, according to the BBC.

But he also also suggested to the audience that the Lib Dems, Labour and the Tories are much more in agreement on the benefits of legal immigration than is commonly thought.

"I actually think there is more understanding across all the parties about the benefits of legal migration," he said.

"I am not allowed to be indiscreet and discuss what happens around the cabinet table - but one of the things I find amusing, of all the conversations I hear about immigration in the coalition government, ignoring the input of Liberal Democrat ministers, it's most usually Conservative ministers complaining about the impact on our economy of the Home Office and immigration control in not letting high value economic migrants into the country.

"Theresa May (the Home Secretary) gets far more grief from Conservative colleagues about the issue of impediments to economic immigration than she does about defects in the immigration system in terms of keeping people out."

 

 

 

 

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power