May makes mi­gra­tion key agenda for Tories

Irish Daily Mail - - News - Ir­ish Daily Mail Re­porter

BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May is making im­mi­gra­tion a key plank in her elec­tion strat­egy, it emerged yes­ter­day.

She re­vealed that she plans to stick to pledges to re­duce an­nual net mi­gra­tion to Bri­tain to be­low 100,000 a year, as the Tory party put to­gether its man­i­festo for a snap elec­tion on June 8.

Mrs May has pre­vi­ously backed her pre­de­ces­sor David Cameron’s prom­ise to cut the fig­ure to ‘tens of thou­sands’, but there had been some spec­u­la­tion that her party might not in­clude the prom­ise in its man­i­festo.

Net mi­gra­tion has con­sis­tently been run­ning at around three times the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get, with the lat­est fig­ures in Fe­bru­ary putting the level at 273,000. When asked dur­ing a visit to a busi­ness in Lon­don yes­ter­day, if she would in­clude the num­ber in the man­i­festo, the prime min­is­ter told the BBC: ‘We want to see sus­tain­able net mi­gra­tion in this coun­try, I be­lieve that sus­tain­able net mi­gra­tion is in the tens of thou­sands.

‘Leav­ing the Euro­pean Union en­ables us to con­trol our bor­ders in re­la­tion to peo­ple com­ing from the EU as well as those who are com­ing from out­side the EU.’

The Tory man­i­festo is also ex­pected to in­clude a ‘triple lock’ of pledges that would end the free move­ment of labour from the EU, with­draw from the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice and to pull out of the sin­gle mar­ket and EU cus­toms union – all mea­sures the prime min­is­ter says will strengthen her hand when it comes to ne­go­ti­at­ing the terms of Bri­tain’s di­vorce from the re­main­ing EU 27.

Mean­while, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he will not be stand­ing in the elec­tion. He said: ‘I be­lieve I can use my pro­file in Euro­pean pol­i­tics to put real pres­sure on MEPs to vote for a sen­si­ble deal.’

Bri­tain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Cor­byn said yes­ter­day he would de­feat a ‘cosy car­tel’ at the heart of Bri­tish pol­i­tics, cast­ing him­self as the anti-es­tab­lish­ment chal­lenger. The prom­ise, to be de­liv­ered via higher taxes on the wealthy and a crack­down on pow­er­ful cor­po­ra­tions, set the tone for a cam­paign in which the vet­eran left-winger will try to defy opin­ion polls that point to a heavy de­feat.

Mrs May sprang a ma­jor sur­prise on Tues­day by call­ing a June 8 elec­tion, three years ahead of sched­ule, to cap­i­talise on a dra­matic col­lapse in sup­port for Labour and win a stronger man­date to boost her in com­plex di­vorce talks with the Euro­pean Union.

While she tries to fo­cus the de­bate on Brexit, Cor­byn is look­ing to har­ness a pow­er­ful anti­estab­lish­ment mood re­vealed by last year’s EU ref­er­en­dum in Bri­tain and echoed in the rhetoric of Bernie San­ders and Don­ald Trump dur­ing last year’s US elec­tion cam­paign.

The po­lit­i­cal sys­tem was bi­ased in favour of large com­pa­nies, he said.

‘We can con­trol our own bor­ders’

Sud­den elec­tion: Theresa May

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