Sat. Jun 15th, 2024
alert-–-i-will-halve-uk-net-migration-–-prime-minister-commits-to-slash-number-of-arrivals-every-year-for-the-first-time-as-he-is-grilled-on-tv-–-after-admitting-the-number-of-legal-arrivals-is-‘too-high’Alert – I will HALVE UK net migration – Prime Minister commits to slash number of arrivals every year for the first time as he is grilled on TV – after admitting the number of legal arrivals is ‘too high’

Rishi Sunak last night vowed to halve net migration and continue slashing it every year of the next Parliament if he wins the General Election.

The Prime Minister for the first time committed to a rough figure on what he pledges to bring the number of legal arrivals down to, as he conceded they were ‘too high’.

Net migration jumped to a staggering record of 764,000 in 2022, equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

It fell back to 685,000 last year but still remains well above the 230,000 level seen at the 2019 election, which the Conservatives pledged to reduce.

Mr Sunak’s pledge means numbers dropping to under 350,000 within a year, which he said would be made possible by a string of measures he’s already introduced as part of a crackdown.

Sir Keir Starmer will promise to deport more foreign criminals and illegal immigrants in Labour’s manifesto this week.

The party would create an enforcement unit made up of 1,000 extra Home Office staff, designed to fast-track removals held up by in the system, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It comes amid a 40 per cent drop in the number of foreign criminals, failed asylum-seekers and visa overstayers sent to their home countries under the Conservatives.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘Labour will turn the page on this chaos.’ But a Tory spokesman said: ‘The idea Labour now cares about removing foreign criminals is frankly laughable.’

Speaking to the BBC’s Nick Robinson for the first in a series of interviews with party leaders, Mr Sunak said: ‘The numbers are too high.

‘I’ve been very clear about that, but people can judge me as well on what I’ve done as PM, where I’ve put in place the biggest, strictest reforms to bring down immigration that we’ve seen.

‘What the forecasts now show is that the levels of net migration are due to halve over the next 12 months or so.

‘The number of visas that we issued at the beginning of this year is down already by a quarter, so that shows we’re on the right track and if I’m re-elected, what we will introduce is a legal cap on migration that parliamentarians will vote on every year, so that we will not just halve the levels of net migration, we will continue to reduce them year on year.’

But Mr Robinson pointed out that former Tory leaders David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson all failed to slash the numbers, adding: ‘And now Rishi Sunak hasn’t done it.’

The PM replied: ‘Actually, we’ve just had the numbers for last year, so the first full year that I was prime minister.

‘It showed that net migration was down 10 per cent from the levels that I inherited and this year, so far, the number of visas that we’ve issued in the main categories is down by a quarter because of the reforms that I’ve brought in.’

During an at times tetchy 30-minute interview, Mr Robinson also challenged Mr Sunak over small boat Channel crossings.

He pointed out that so far this year, 11,000 people have crossed the Channel. ‘You’ve not stopped the boats. 

‘Why do you deserve more time to try to do it?’ he asked the PM.

Mr Sunak said he deserved to be trusted because numbers dropped by a third last year compared to 2022 crossings.

However, Mr Robinson pointed out that the numbers so far this year are a record high compared to the same period in previous years.

The PM insisted that voters should trust him because he believes his Rwanda deportation scheme will be up and running after the election.

He said: ‘The only way to fully solve this problem is for people to know that if they come to our country illegally, they won’t be able to stay and that means we have to have somewhere safe to return them and if I’m prime minister, the flights will go.

‘The deterrent will be built …If you believe, like I do, the only way to solve this problem is to have a deterrent, we’re the only party that can deliver that for you and again, Labour have no answer.’

Labour has vowed to scrap the Rwanda scheme and instead focus more resources on tackling criminal smuggling gangs upstream.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak repeated his apology for his ‘mistake’ of returning early from last week’s D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

He said: ‘The last thing that I wanted to do was cause anyone any hurt or offence or upset, which is why I apologised unreservedly for the mistake that I made.

‘I hope people can forgive me and also look at my actions as Prime Minister to increase investment in our armed forces, and ensure that veterans have a minister in Cabinet with unprecedented support to make this the best country in the world to be a veteran as a demonstration of how deeply I care about this community.’

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