Rishi Sunak faces migration fury as Tory rivals prepare for Cabinet ‘dog fight’ | Politics | News
Rishi Sunak is facing a backlash over the latest net migration figures, with the prime minister warned the record numbers are likely to spark a ‘dog fight’ in the Cabinet.
The latest figures show net migration has reached 606,000 – more than six times the level promised by the Tories.
Nigel Farage described the figures as a “total breach of trust between voters and this government”.
Speaking to the Daily Express, he added: ‘The population explosion continues, our quality of life is deteriorating and all the government will do is give us more lies.
Meanwhile, a former Home Office adviser said migration at this level is “unsustainable” and is the “direct result of government policy choices”.
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Although he admits the numbers are lower than expected with the government prepared for a migration of more than 800,000 people, Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith warned the numbers are “still excessively high”.
He told the Daily Express: “Although the numbers are lower than expected, I think we can all agree that they are still excessively high and we need to see those numbers come down drastically in the future.
“I welcome the positive steps taken in the treatment of students and their dependents as well as the measures to combat illegal immigration, but we must now support the Home Secretary and her efforts to bring these figures to a reasonable level.”
A source within the powerful backbench European Research Group, a Brexiteer faction of the Conservative Party, told the Express the figures risked provoking a ‘dog fight within the Cabinet’.
The insider said that while some party figures will be relieved, others on the right of the party are deeply concerned about the rising numbers.
The former Home Office adviser warned: “Today’s record immigration figures are a direct result of government policy choices.
“Immigration at this level is unsustainable and will put increased pressure on housing and public services. Yet the numbers were expected and predictable.
“They are the direct result of the choices made by a series of Cabinet Ministers to open up the visa regime for short-term gain.
“Whether it was the desire to cut NHS wages and training budget, to fund universities through the sale of work visas or to accept the Treasury’s desire for people-led economic growth, it was a political choice and the wrong one.
“The government should now refocus on domestic skills and investment rather than immigration and, at the very least, limit immigration to the provision of new housing and infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, Alp Mehmet, president of Migration Watch, denounced Rishi Sunak for “stratospheric” levels of migration.
He said: “The Prime Minister has abandoned any effort to reduce immigration from these stratospheric levels.
“So we will now campaign for the public to sign a petition calling for net migration to be reduced to less than 100,000 a year.
“It will be an opportunity, at last, for the public to express their concern about the fundamental changes in the nature of Britain. We are really on the edge of the cliff.”