In the lead-up to the General Election on 8 June, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has renewed her pledge to cut net migration below 100,000. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, hinted on Sunday that the target could change, and is among a number of cabinet members who are understood to have expressed doubts over this commitment. Visiting a community centre in north London, Mrs. May said: “I think it is important that we continue, and we will continue, to say that we do want to bring net migration down to sustainable levels. We believe that is the tens of thousands and of course once we leave the European Union we will have the opportunity to ensure that we have control of our borders here in the UK.” On a visit to Worcester, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said in response: “Theresa May made that promise in 2010 and made the same promise in 2015 and didn’t get anywhere near it on any occasion at all. But the issue is that there has to be fair migration into this country and it has to be managed migration.”
Mr. Corbyn refused to announce whether his party’s manifesto would set out a numerical target for migration, but said the aim would be a fair system that recognised the “massive contribution” migrants had made to the NHS, education, industry and public transport services. Stephen Martin, director-general of the Institute of Directors, warned that a target was “a poor substitute for a proper immigration policy” and said that “all parties should instead see Brexit as an opportunity to come up with a new system that is good for the economy but also addresses voters’ concerns.” Net migration fell to 273,000 in the year to September, driven in part by a reduced number of foreign students.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest to your inbox.