Describes himself as only leader to take head on a muddled system
3rd May 2010: Evan as a poll suggests Lib Dem voters are opposed to Nick Clegg’s plan to give citizenship to long-standing illegal immigrants, the party leader has expressed anger over attacks on his party’s immigration policy by rival leaders David Cameron and Gordon Brown.
Clegg had only recently Clegg asserted people living in the UK without the correct documentation would be permitted to become British citizens after a decade, if they spoke English, had a clean record and wanted to live here long-term.
Though Nick Clegg clarified he was not in favour of an amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Lib Dem plan was termed as an "amnesty" by the political rivals.
Reacting to the developments just before the general elections, Clegg claimed he was the only party leader with courage to take head on a muddled system allowed to exist under successive Labour and Conservative administrations.
Clegg said it made him incredibly angry that Cameron and Gordon Brown created a problem, and were happy to overlook criminal gangs running amok in the community. Clegg insisted he was the only leader actually wanting to do something about it.
“I want to go after the criminal gangs. If David Cameron and Gordon Brown want to make life easy for criminals, fine. But I wonder how many people agree with that. I don’t,” he added.
He was talking to the media at a campaign event in Burnley. Launching a scathing attack at the way his opponents were "wholly misrepresent" his plan, Clegg said in his opinion it was right for the Lib Dem to say they have got to do something about the issue.
Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by think-tank Migrationwatch UK, found 57 per cent of prospective Lib Dem voters were against `migrant amnesty’.
Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green said a severe crackdown on bent employers is the only answer, as the present crop of illegals would simply be replaced by visitors and students staying on illegally.
Migrationwatch claimed Britain’s migrant population would increase by more than one million over the next five years due to Gordon Brown’s open door policy on immigration.
The number of people living in the UK would increase from 62.2 million to 64.3 million between now and 2015.
More than half of that growth would be caused by immigration. Migrationwatch expressed apprehension the rising population would place strain on public services with billions of pounds of extra funding likely to be needed.
The findings were based on projections by the Office for National Statistics, using current trends in migration and birth rates.