Patrick O’Flynn Patrick O’Flynn

How will Truss tackle immigration?

Liz Truss (Credit: Getty images)

Despite its leading lights having spent more than a decade spent promising us they will bring down immigration we can now say for sure that Conservative party is not going to do that.

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are preparing to expand the number of economic sectors to be declared as suffering from labour shortages and thus permitted to bring in both skilled and unskilled workers from abroad. Not only this, but they are also pushing for a trade deal with India that will involve ‘open access’ immigration arrangements.

In his watershed financial statement in the Commons on Friday, Kwarteng included immigration in a list of areas where barriers to economic expansion were going to be removed by new policies to be announced in the coming weeks. He added that the focus would be on growth ‘even where that means taking difficult decisions’. For ‘taking difficult decisions’ read ‘breaking promises’.

Under Boris Johnson, the Conservatives had already driven a coach and horses through their 2019 manifesto pledge that ‘there will be fewer lower-skilled migrants and overall numbers will come down’. In fact overall numbers are sharply up, with an astonishing one million foreign nationals allowed to come and live in the UK last year.

There is now no party in the Commons capable of representing the British voters who think immigration remains much too high

Johnson’s casual betrayal of a promise which helped win new support for the Tories in the red wall came after both Theresa May and David Cameron broke a pledge to bring annual net immigration down to the tens of thousands – i.e. under 100,000 – in every single year since it was first made by the party in 2010.

Somewhat comically, Cameron told the electorate at that year’s general election: ‘If we don’t deliver our side of the bargain, vote us out in five years’ time.’

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