LONDON — Theresa May today committed to bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands — a policy that Conservative governments have consistently failed to deliver since the party first made the pledge in 2010.
“We do want to bring migration down to sustainable levels. We believe that is in the tens of thousands,” the prime minister said at an event in Harrow on Monday morning.
May did not confirm, however, when she intends to hit this target.
“It’s important to reduce immigration because of the impact it has on people particularly at the lower end of the income scale and in terms of the pressures on public services,” she told journalists this morning.
“So I think it is important that we will continue to say that we do want to bring net migration down to sustainable levels. We believe that is in the tens of thousands.”
She added: “And of course when we leave the European Union we will ensure we have control of our borders.
“Leaving the European Union means we won’t have freedom of movement as we had in the past and when it comes to voting on June 8th you will have a very clear choice between me and my team who are committed to ensuring we bring back control of our borders, and Jeremy Corbyn who just wants to carry on with freedom of movement as it always has been.”
Her remarks come just a day after her Home Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC Radio Five Live that she could not confirm whether the long-standing Tory policy pledge would be dropped from the party’s 2017 general election manifesto.
David Cameron announced the Conservative Party’s promise to cut net migration down to below 100,000 in the party’s 2010 manifesto. However, the party hasn’t come anywhere close to reducing the figure to this level since being re-elected to government seven years ago.
This includes the six years May spent as Home Secretary when overseeing immigration policy was among her primary responsibilities.
Net migration to the UK was around 273,000 as of February this year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Theresa May’s full election manifesto is expected to be published next week. The party continues to enjoy huge leads of Corbyn’s Labour in the opinion polls and made hundreds of gains in last week’s local and mayoral elections.
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