Conservatives under pressure after UK net migration sails even further past their "tens of thousands" target
David Cameron will face serious pressure over the next few days, from the press, the public, and even members of his own parliamentary party, after failing to meet his net migration target for yet another year.
He will curse the day that he ever said the words “tens of thousands” whilst the press analyse figures from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) which show yet another record increase. From March 2014 to March 2015, it seems, a further 330,000 more people moved into our country as moved out.
The Conservatives have an age-old split regarding immigration within the party (which has been partly placated by Cameron’s offer of an EU referendum), with the more traditionalist and right-wing members and ministers lobbying the PM to deal with their issue, and the rest happy to accept the influx to a certain degree in order to reap the economic benefits of a predominantly young and low-skilled group trickling into the British workforce.
Indeed, this has been the main purpose of Cameron’s so-called renegotiation with Europe; to try and de-incentivise people from coming to the UK by cutting migrant welfare capacity and making jobs available to British-born workers as a priority. Other EU leaders are having some trouble swallowing this, as their own electorates do not want to be discriminated against if they choose to work in the UK, and the eastern-European nations such as Poland have significant reservations.
The argument is that it cannot be one rule for the British and one rule for everyone else, and most people across the political spectrum are convinced that Cameron will make some half-baked compromises with the EU, and return claiming triumph to lead the Yes campaign in the referendum. The worry is that if his concessions are too weak, the UK could end up “sleepwalking out” of the EU due to apathy in the pro-European camp.
The referendum itself is fast approaching, with some Tory commentators claiming it could be as early as this time next year. If that is the case it is unlikely that Cameron will be able to convince the EU for treaty change, and whilst migration continues to rise exponentially he is fuelling the fires of his opponents’ campaign.