Anna Soubry Denies She Called Migrants “Thick”

Press Association has some curious Anna Soubry quotes from a fringe event on immigration yesterday. According to their report she said it is a “myth” that migrants use public services because they are “thick young men”.

“Go to Boston. Boston apparently has some of the highest numbers of migrant workers. It is a myth that these people are clogging up our social services and social housing. It is not true, because most of the people who work in Boston, to put it crudely, are thick young men. The last place you’ll find them is at the Pilgrim hospital [in Boston], apart from those that work in it.”

UPDATE: Soubry is claiming she has been misquoted by Press Association. She reckons she said “fit young men”.

UPDATE II: Here is the audio. She said “fit”.

Sounds like the PA reporter had a particularly bad conference hangover.

Caroline Flint v Clive Lewis Immigration Bunfight

This got heated when Clive suggested Caroline was racist for supporting managed migration…

Corbyn Backs “A Lot” of Continued EU Immigration

Corbyn doing his best to come to the aid of imploding Tories this morning…

Net Migration Down 81,000

Net migration was 246,000 last year, down 81,000 from 327,000 the previous year. In total 588,000 people came to the country, down 50,000 from 638,000 the previous year. Emigration was 342,000, up from 311,000 the previous year. Significant increase in EU citizens returning home…

Shami: Labour Backs Continuing Free Movement

Shami Chakrabarti didn’t really have a grasp of the detail on Ridge but she made clear Labour would not take back control of borders and would support the continuation of free movement in some form:

“We haven’t said we’d have control of free movement of people, you can’t necessarily have control… what’s important is that jobs come first, the economy comes first and that means getting tariff-free access to the single market… There’s a lot of room for negotiation about what types of free movement, what kinds of priority… It’s possible for friendly countries in and outside Europe to give priority for certain nationals.”

Not quite what they said in their manifesto… going to alienate a lot of Labour’s working class Northern vote…

May Guarantees Rights of EU Citizens From Article 50 Date

Back in February Guido told you Theresa May was considering Article 50 day as the cut-off date for EU citizens’ right to remain in the country. Well, tonight May has announced that the 3 million EU citizens in Britain on Article 50 day, March 29, can stay with access to schools, hospitals etc. The final cut off date has been left open and could be any date up to the point Britain leaves the EU, meaning it is on the table pending the rest of the negotiations. But any EU citizen here on Article 50 has the right to remain. An open and generous offer…

Labour Chaos Latest: Now Back Free Movement

As Guido reported this morning the Tories are all over the place on Brexit, though it’s worth looking at Labour’s shambles as well. On Monday Barry Gardiner and John McDonnell disagreed about staying in the single market. Today Rebecca Long-Bailey amusingly described the single market as a “moot point” and suggested she supports the continuation of free movement:

“We accept the fact that if we are going to have impediment-free access to the single market then there will have to be some element of free movement.”

Labour’s manifesto position, outlined by Corbyn during the campaign was: “clearly the free movement ends when we leave the European Union.Does Becky speak for herself or the Shadow Cabinet?

Net Migration Down 84,000

Net migration fell to 248,000 in 2016 – down 84,000 year-on-year. Immigration was estimated to be 588,000 and emigration 339,000.

Eastern European EU8 citizens have partly driven the changes with a fall in immigration (down 25,000) to 48,000 and a rise in emigration (up 16,000) to 43,000 in 2016.

UK Q1 GDP was also revised down to 0.2% from 0.3%. The ONS said a slowdown in household spending as prices rose was to blame.

Stay tuned for UKIP’s manifesto launch shortly…

UKIP and Farage Seize on Osborne Immigration Revelations

George Osborne has admitted that the Cameron government never tried to keep its promises on immigration and claimed that every senior member of the Cabinet privately opposes the Tory target on reducing net migration. Osborne makes the claims in his latest Evening Standard editorial, writing that “none of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief”. Just like Dave’s unhelpful Brexit comments last week, UKIP are already seizing on these revelations. Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“In admitting that the Tories never planned to keep their promises on immigration, and that the Cabinet does not even support reducing migration, I suspect for once George Osborne has got something right.”

And a punchy UKIP spokesman tells Guido:

“Osborne has blown the gaff. For the last 7 years the Tories have been knowingly lying about their inability to reduce immigration. Now Amber Rudd has been passed the baton by the Prime Minister to carry on doing so. It used to be said that it was the job of the Diplomatic Service to lie for Britain. It now seems to be the job of the Home Office to lie to Britain.”

Notable that the unleashed Leave voter-bashing Osborne is using his insider knowledge of Cabinet discussions so overtly so early on in his new job. ACOBA were insistent that he must not used privileged information garnered from his time in office:

“The Committee is mindful of the potential interest the Evening Standard may have in the vast array of information you were privy to as a member of the Cabinet and as Chancellor. Whilst the Committee notes the Permanent Secretary has no concerns about the role in relation to your time as Chancellor, it is concerned that given the specific nature of the role as Editor, there is a risk that your knowledge acquired in office could provide some advantage to the Evening Standard.”    

Every Cabinet member who appears on TV will now be asked if they privately oppose this key Tory manifesto policy, just in time for tomorrow’s launch…

Soubry’s Manifesto Double Standard

Anna Soubry has repeatedly used the 2015 Tory manifesto commitment on the Single Market to support her own position that the UK should retain membership post-Brexit. This is really not as clever as she thinks it is. First, the referendum obviously gives the government a new mandate to leave the Single Market. Second, it turns out Soubry doesn’t actually care for manifesto promises when they don’t suit her. Her article for the Indy today calls for the government to drop its manifesto commitment to cutting immigration. Soubs has run on three straight Tory manifestos calling for immigration cuts. She is demanding the government sticks to the manifesto on the Single Market but breaks it on immigration – truly having her cake and eating it…

Clegg to ‘Hold Government to Account on Dramatically Reduced Immigration’

Curious that Nick Clegg has pledged to “hold the government to account over their Brexit contract with the British public”, including making sure that immigration is “dramatically reduced”. Huh? Clegg has been a vociferous supporter of free movement for years. He’s said, for example: “I want to be unequivocal: freedom of movement between EU member states is a good thing”. Just a few months ago he wrote a paper arguing it would be impossible for “control to be re-established” over immigration and for the UK economy to survive. Now he says he wants to hold the government to account on immigration being “dramatically reduced”? Did Clegg actually read that sign before he stood next to it? Wouldn’t be the first time…

“Who would be serving our coffee in Pret?”

“For anyone else here who works in London, who would be serving our coffee in Pret?” asked an audience member on last night’s question time apparently concerned about the plight of migrants. Reminiscent of Kelly Osbourne asking “who will clean your toilets?” if America cuts Mexican immigration…

Net Migration 273,000 Last Year

The key statistics:

  • Net migration 273,000 for 2016
  • Down 50,000 on 2015, this is seen as not statistically significant
  • 596,000 immigrated to the UK
  • 268,000 new EU citizens, 257,000 new non-EU citizens
  • Net migration now higher from EU than outside EU
  • 323,000 emigrated: including 103,000 EU citizens and 93,000 non-EU
  • 74,000 Romanians and Bulgarians came in 2016, highest estimate recorded
  • 104,000 arrived looking for work but without a job to go to

Net migration essentially still around that stubborn 300,000 mark…

Number 10 Considering Article 50 Migrant Cut Off Date

Theresa May has been clear she wants to guarantee the rights of EU citizens currently living in Britain to stay, so long as Britons abroad are given the same guarantees. The question being considered by Number 10 is the date at which this right to remain ends. Three possible dates have been looked at as a cut off point after which EU migrants’ rights are no longer guaranteed: the date of the referendum, the triggering of Article 50 and the date of exit itself. Each of these options has its difficulties.

Awarding the right to remain to new EU migrants up until the date of exit would likely lead to a surge of new EU immigration over the coming months. Thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians rushing into Britain while they still can is not going to go down well with voters. It would be gold dust for UKIP. Next week’s immigration statistics will focus minds in Downing Street.

What about using the date of the referendum? Removing the right to remain from EU citizens before we have formally begun the departure process has obvious legal difficulties. If the government backdated the right to remain to 23 June 2016, Remainers and various EU partners would kick up a fuss and there could be consequences for Britons abroad. This option is probably popular if tricky.

Some prominent Leavers like Gisela Stuart have suggested using the triggering of Article 50 as the cut off date. This has the advantage of preventing a surge, as well as being more reasonable for EU countries. It is an option being considered by Number 10. They know that the longer they leave it, the less likely it is Theresa May will be able to ease the public’s fears on immigration before the election…

Corbyn Abandons Decades-Held Belief in Free Movement

Jeremy Corbyn today vows to slash the number of EU migrant workers as he continues his Trump-inspired rebrand and abandons his decades-held belief in free movement. Corbyn will use a speech in Leave stronghold Peterborough to say: “Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens”, instead demanding “reasonably managed migration”. Jezza will pledge to “close down cheap labour loopholes” and “ban exclusive advertising of jobs abroad”, adding:

“That would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.”

This is at odds with what Corbyn believes, indeed with what he has said in the last few months. In September he told Sky News: “I don’t particularly want us to go down the road of having to have a hard border between Britain and Europe”, adding “we need to maintain that free movement”. In October the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott insisted to the Morning Star that “Freedom of movement is a workers’ right”. Corbyn’s team have previously admitted “Jeremy is not concerned about numbers”.

A win for Labour moderates, the likes of Keir Starmer and Gerard Coyne, who have been calling for a tougher stance. The problem is that under Corbyn it is completely unbelievable. Voters know what Jezza really thinks about immigration, he polls at around 12% on the issue when compared to Theresa May…

Watson: “It’s Unfair to Ask” What Is Labour’s Immigration Policy

Tom Watson tells Sophy Ridge “it’s unfair of you to ask me” what Labour’s immigration policy is, though concedes it’s a “fair point” that no one knows what it is. The message to kick off 2017…

Chuka’s U-Turn on Migrants Speaking English

Chuka Umunna’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration has a report out today calling for migrants to learn English before they arrive in the UK or be given compulsory language lessons once they arrive. The report states:

“The APPG believes that all immigrants should be expected to have either learned English before coming to the UK or be enrolled in compulsory ESOL classes upon arrival… speaking English is the key to full participation in our society and economy, and is a prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people.”

Chuka’s newly hard line on the language requirement is at odds with his previous criticism of those suggesting the policy. On Question Time in 2014 he tried to shut down Nigel Farage for suggesting essentially the exact same measure as today’s report:

“[You are] letting this debate descend into something that is quite nasty and quite ugly. There are a lot of buses and trains if you got on… where you would hear other people talking different languages other than English and you say that makes you feel awkward, what you say makes me feel awkward Nigel.”

Two-faced Chuka strikes again…

Red Len Spinner Demanding End to Free Movement Lives in Spain

Len McCluskey is launching his Unite re-election campaign this morning, making an end to free movement one of his main campaign pledges. This puts him noticeably at odds with the pro-open borders Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott. Labour are promising a “populist rebrand” in the new year – is Red Len backing immigration controls a sign of change to come?

Guido noticed that the Unite spinner who briefed out Len’s anti-free movement pledge is Jennie Walsh, who lives in Órgiva, Spain. Jennie writes a blog called “Left from Granada” where she shares her thoughts on “life and politics in las Alpujarras”. As she puts it:

“I moved… with my husband and daughter from leafy north London to Órgiva, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Some have asked why swap Hampstead Heath for Las Alpujarras. I have of course asked the same question. But as I write this blog and the stunning Sierra Lujar range feels close enough to touch, I have no doubt that the decision is the right one.”

Jennie is certainly one who has enjoyed the perks of free movement…

Highest Ever Immigration on Record

Here are the new immigration statistics from the ONS:

Net Migration = 335,000

Comprised of 189,000 EU migrants, 196,000 non-EU migrants and 49,000 British citizens leaving

Immigration = 650,000, the highest estimate recorded, up 11,000

311,000 immigrants came for work reasons, the highest estimate recorded

182,000 had a definite job to go to, 130,000 arrived looking for work

629,000 National Insurance number registrations by EU nationals, 195,000 by non-EU nationals

196,000 new non-EU migrants, that’s the number we can control…

President Signals Illegal Immigrant Crackdown, Speedy Deportations

In 1995 Bill Clinton told Congress in his State of the Union Address that he would implement a proto-Trump immigration crackdown. To a standing ovation he said

The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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