Nick Clegg accuses Tories of abandoning immigration pledges
The Conservatives have quietly abandoned their pledge to cut annual net migration to “tens of thousands” because they have finally realised it is impossible, Nick Clegg will claim today.
In a scathing assessment of his Coalition partners’ handling of immigration, the Liberal Democrat leader accused them of being “fixated” of hitting the target to the exclusion of other policies such as tougher border controls.
His planned comments triggered a Coalition row, with the Tories denying the pledge had been scrapped and accusing Mr Clegg of blocking attempts to tighten the immigration system.
While in opposition, Mr Cameron said he would cut net migration to tens of thousands by the end of his first term in Government, which is now nine months away. The current number stands at 212,000.
The Deputy Prime Minister will today argue that the Coalition had been successful in turning around a system which was in “utter disarray”, but had been hindered by the Tory commitment.
“The Conservatives were completely fixated on the net migration target, and, specifically, their pledge to get it down to tens of thousands, a Tory rallying cry in opposition.
“I told David Cameron during the leaders’ debates and in the early part of Government: ‘You’ll never deliver it’. I made sure it wasn’t in the Coalition Agreement precisely because it’s unrealistic,” Mr Clegg will say.
“Thankfully the Conservatives have now softened their attachment to the net migration target and backed away from “tens of thousands.”
He will cite Mr Cameron’s failure to mention the target in a wide-ranging article last week in how best to tighten the system.
“They’ve realised they won’t deliver it and, bluntly, it’s made it much easier for us to get things done,” he will say.
He will argue swifter progress has now been made on introducing exit checks at all ports and airports, with 80 per cent of journeys now covered. If there is not total coverage by the next election, Mr Clegg will promise to include the commitment in the Lib Dem manifesto.
A Conservative source responded: “We remain committed to our target and have made great progress with non-EU migration. Nick Clegg’s comments are surprising as the Liberal Democrats have never previously raised concerns about controlling immigration. In fact, in private they have sought to block many of measures to control immigration that he’s now advocating.”
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...