Isabel Hardman

Number 10 tries to defend Brokenshire speech

Number 10 tries to defend Brokenshire speech
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What fortunate timing it is that Home Office questions falls this afternoon, during the aftermath of one of the worst debut speeches a minister has managed in this Parliament. Doubtless Labour will have a great deal of fun with James Brokenshire's 'metropolitan elite' speech which appears to have been rather disowned by figures in Number 10 over the weekend.

Today at the Number 10 lobby briefing, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said:

'The speech was setting out the government's approach to immigration policy, it's a policy the Prime Minister very much supports. We want to attract the brightest and the best, people who want to work hard and get on, that needs to be done within a policy of controlled migration.'

He then added that he didn't think the word 'blame' appeared in the speech, though it has been read as an attempt by ministers to blame voters - possibly including members of Labour's hardworking families up and down the country - for the levels of immigration that this country has seen in recent years.

It will be interesting to see what Theresa May has to say about it all when it's her turn at the despatch box later today. It's worth noting, though, that while the speech has sparked an amusing hunt for ministers who employ cheap foreign labour and are a bit embarrassed to admit it, it has gone down pretty well with Tory MPs worried about the impact of immigration on their constituencies.