Tories get tough on immigration after Labour's U-turn on foreign workers

The Tories today issued a new call for tougher curbs on immigration as they warned that more than 80 per cent of migrants to Britain since 1997 came from outside the EU.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said that official figures showed that 2.3 million people have moved here since Labour came to power. Of these, 1.96 million, or 84 per cent, came from outside Europe, where migration can be controlled, while only 374,000, or 16 per cent, had come from the EU.

Mr Grieve said the figures showed that the Government had displayed a " failure to control economic migration from outside the EU" and called for a " fundamental change in approach" that would restrict the numbers arriving from outside Europe.

The Tory attack follows the comments by the new immigration minister Phil Woolas who caused controversy at the weekend by suggesting that he wanted to curb migration to prevent Britain's population spiralling to more than 70 million - as official projections have suggested it will if the current rate of arrivals continue.

On Saturday, Mr Woolas had said he would make it harder for immigrants to come to Britain.
He suggested an upper limit on the UK's population and criticised the NHS and councils for being too soft on foreigners......

He said the Government must have a population policy 'and that means at some point we will be able to set a limit on migration'. He said he would not allow Britain's population to rise above 70million - the current level is just under 61million.....

He said employers should 'put British people first', and the Government must attempt to fill skill shortages by retraining the UK workforce. .....

Latest employment figures show that the number of Britons in work has fallen by 365,000 over two years, while the immigrant workforce is up by 865,000. .....

Mr Woolas also hit out at 'health tourism' and condemned 'abuses' by local councils, following recent coverage of immigrants being given lavish homes at taxpayers' expense. .....

By last night his get-tough message was under close scrutiny, and he was forced to backtrack on key messages. .....

Mr Woolas added: 'It is not a simple message and I am sorry if people are confused about it.'.....

He described accusations of pandering to Right-wing sentiment as 'deeply hurtful', adding: 'This is an issue that I have been passionately involved in all of my adult life. It is the reason why I got involved in politics, to tackle racial discrimination and to help people who are immigrants.'

FULL ARTICLE HERE

Tarn Lass

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