The Home Office is considering an amnesty for immigrants who are illegally in the UK it was revealed last night.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said it was "too early to tell" whether he would support what would be a controversial policy U-turn. But he refused to rule out an amnesty, as previous home secretaries and immigration ministers have done, and said civil servants were drafting a report weighing the pros and cons.
"I'm one of these people who has to have the analysis in front of them, " said Mr Byrne, just 12 days in the job, as he twice refused to give a definitive answer to MPs on the subject. "I have commissioned some analysis. I need to understand issues like the length of stay already here for X, Y and Z..."
The shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, claimed an amnesty "could lead to a massive and uncontrolled increase in the numbers coming here", but support for an amnesty has been growing within the church and trade union movements.