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Tory right want migration crackdown to go further

(Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)

Uh oh. Less than a day has passed since James Cleverly announced his new five-point immigration plan and already there are noises from the Tory right suggesting they want more. Recently-ousted home secretary Suella Braverman said last night the government ‘can go further’ and that the ‘package is too late’. It followed comments made last week by Kemi Badenoch, who said that she wanted to push for ‘much, much tougher’ immigration plans. The immigration minister Robert Jenrick agreed.

Speaking to Times Radio, Jenrick couldn’t quite say whether getting net migration to below the 2019 level would be possible before the next election. Echoing the sentiment of his former boss, Jenrick admitted that the government may need to do more in their plans to tackle migration levels. ‘If we need to go further, and we may well do, then we should and we will,’ he told presenters firmly.

When asked about Braverman’s proposal of an annual cap on immigration numbers ‘across all visa routes’, Jenrick sided with the unofficial spokesperson for the right of his party. ‘There are merits to ideas like that,’ he agreed – even though Cleverly rejected calls for a cap yesterday. How very curious…

Though rather less overt in his criticism of the new home secretary than the embittered Braverman, Jenrick’s subtle slights are all the more interesting given he was once considered ‘Sunak’s eyes and ears’ in the Home Office. But recent decisions may have impaired the once close relationship between the immigration minister and the PM. It has been rumoured, after all, that perhaps Jenrick himself was hoping to be promoted to the top job.

Try as he might, Sunak can’t quite seem to diminish the influence of the Tory right…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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