23 November 2010

Tens of Thousands

Theresa May just confirmed at the despatch box that the Coalition's policy was to reduce net migration to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.

This was not in the Coalition Agreement. The agreement accepts that the government will "reduce the number of non-EU immigrants". But it was never agreed that the reduction would need to be as drastic as the Tories campaigned for during the election.

This matters because this target will shape multiple pieces of forthcoming legislation. The immigration cap today would not need to be so economically damaging, the cuts to student numbers would not need to be as harmful to our colleges and universities, and the restrictions to family visas (also not mentioned in the Agreement) would not need to be as brutal to those it will hurt.

Hansard shows Theresa May had previously set out this target as government policy in a statement on the 28th June.

Lib Dem Ministers must not let their Conservative colleagues stray from the specific terms set out in the Agreement. There are enough concessions in there already; don't give them any more.

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