How unhelpful are the New Conservatives to their party in government? They insist that they’re fully supportive of Rishi Sunak, but today’s 12-point plan to cut net migration isn’t exactly a love letter to the Prime Minister.
Someone who does seem rather less annoyed by the new caucus is Suella Braverman, who as luck would have it was taking Home Office Questions in the House of Commons this afternoon. One of the members of the new caucus, James Daly, had a question about ‘what steps she is taking to reduce net migration’, and the Home Secretary replied:
Net migration is too high, and this government are determined to bring it down. Indeed, that was one of the reasons why I voted and campaigned to leave the European Union in 2016. Last month, I announced measures to reduce the number of student dependants coming to the UK, which has soared by 35 per cent, and to stop people transferring from student visas to work visas. We expect net migration to return to sustainable levels over time, and immigration policy is under constant review.
Daly followed this up with one of the points in his group’s plan, amending the minimum salary requirement for the skilled worker visa scheme, to which Braverman talked about the need for employers to ‘recruit more people who are already here, rather than advertising abroad so much’. She then clashed with shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper over whether she supported ‘her own social care visas or not’.
My understanding is that the Home Secretary does not mind the arguments that are being made today by her backbench colleagues. They are particularly helpful in her ongoing standoff with the Treasury, which has always had a more liberal attitude to high net migration than the Home Office for the simple reason that it is pretty handy for the economy.