Labour will not set limit on immigrant numbers: Miliband

Blames Cameron for making ‘false promises’ on immigration cap 5th May 2011: Blaming Prime Minister David Cameron for making ‘false promises’ on immigration cap, Labour leader Ed Miliband has made it clear his party will not set limit on immigrant numbers.
The assertion signifies that Labour has by and large not changed its stand on immigration even after suffering defeat in the General Elections the previous year.

Admitting Labour made mistakes on the issue of immigration, Miliband criticised plans for a cap by saying: ‘I am not going to pluck figures out of the air, which we can’t deliver on’.

He claimed the Prime Minister will not be able to fulfill his promise of reducing the inflow of immigrants.

Elaborating, Miliband said former Labour administration did ‘under-estimated significantly’ the number of migrants coming from Eastern Europe; and it left an impact on wages and conditions of home-grown workers.

But at the same time he said the party would not come out with a target to cut the levels of migration. He would not even make it an aspiration of his party.

Miliband told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘What is the real danger in the immigration debate? It is politicians making false promises.

‘David Cameron says we are going to reduce immigration to tens of thousands. I am not going to make that promise, because I don’t think he can deliver on that promise.

‘He can’t control the number of people coming in from Eastern Europe, at least from the 27 countries already in the EU.
‘I think this cap is a very dubious thing. I am not going to pluck figures out of the air which we can’t deliver on.’

Miliband insisted attempts to curtail freedom of movement within the EU would leave an impact on estimated two million Britons working in continental Europe.

‘Let’s have an immigration debate which is realistic about what can be delivered, which understands the feelings people have and also acts on the underlying issues people face in their lives, whether it is wages, housing or other public services.’

Responding to the assertion, Immigration Minister Damian Green said just like on the economy, Labour are in denial on immigration – they refuse to admit that levels of migration were too high under Labour. Their message on immigration seems to be vote for us and we will do it all over again.

Labour claim to support controlled migration but they won’t support our plans to reduce immigration. They have attacked our cap on economic migration and our reforms to the student visa route to tackle abuse.
Only the Government is committed to bringing down net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – the tens of thousands not the hundreds of thousands, he said

The assertion comes soon after Cameron asserted cutting migration to the low levels witnesses in the 1980s was an “ambition” and not a Government policy.

The assertion comes soon after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg distanced himself from Cameron’s tougher stance on immigration and said cutting down the numbers of foreigner entrants to tens of thousands a year was not government policy.

Cameron, in fact, caught Westminster unawares by apparently bidding adieu to the pledge to cut down the annual figure from 200,000 to “tens of thousands”.

The shift has led Tory MPs to believe Cameron has given in to keep Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable in good humour.

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