Coffee House

Osborne admits net migration target is impossible without EU reform

1 June 2014

4:43 PM

1 June 2014

4:43 PM

George Osborne’s interview today with the Sun on Sunday does show the Conservatives are starting to see a little bit of sense about their net migration target. They’re starting to realise that they aren’t going to meet it when they can only control non-EU migration. It’s surprising, really, that it’s taken them so long to realise that the target was going to be a bit tricky to meet. In this week’s magazine, Douglas Murray argues that Cameron will need to listen – really listen – to voters’ concerns about immigration if he is to have a hope of winning next year:

‘Because the deep, underlying story of last week is clear: the British public have made the connection between the EU and mass immigration. They do not like the latter and they blame it on the former. For years polls have continued to show that the vast majority of the British public want immigration reduced. The figures are always similar and we are — it is important to note — never talking about a minority opinion here. One recent poll showed that 77 per cent of the public want immigration reduced, while 78 per cent said that England is overcrowded and a staggering 85 per cent say that immigration is placing too much pressure on public services. It takes an absolutely blind political class not to see what the public can most certainly see.

‘Unfortunately for the Conservative party, they appear to be led by just such people.’

But it is still significant that the Chancellor has said the following:

‘We are delivering on the policy, and the key dimension to it which we now need to deliver on is the European aspect.

‘That requires renegotiation of our membership of the EU and an in-out referendum so the British people have their say. The point that people need to focus on is that a General Election is not a free hit – it matters who the government is.’

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Osborne is employing the current Conservative squeeze message on would-be Ukip voters. But he’s also in effect accepting that the net migration target will fail this side of the general election.

There are two points worth considering. The first is how the Conservatives think they can achieve fundamental reform of freedom of movement in the European Union when Angela Merkel has made clear that this is not up for grabs. David Cameron has said he is so confident that he can get what he wants from a renegotiation that he can already declare he will be campaigning for Britain to stay in, so he’s either acting on very secret intelligence, or a bit too optimistic for his own good.

The second is why on earth did the Prime Minister make such a song and dance of saying he thought the target was ‘achievable’ and that he was committed to it when asked about it only a few weeks ago at the Liaison Committee? He did very carefully craft his answers so that at no point did he say that the Conservatives would meet this target. But why bother even doing that?

The answer is of course that the European elections, the latest migration statistics from the ONS and an offer of help on this from Conservative eurosceptics have all taken place since he made this assertion. But it makes Cameron look a bit wibbly on commitments if his colleagues are now prepared to be honest – as they should be – about the target he only recently recommitted himself to.

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Show comments
  • BenefitsStreet

    The Conservative government have allowed 526,000 people to immigrate into the UK (year ending December 2013) when only 214,000 ‘immigrated for work’.

    From the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, May 2014 – ONS.

  • Graeme S

    why not just stop all immigration from outside the EU…. EASY

  • itdoesntaddup

    Looking at the latest official data, we had net immigration of 212,000, of which 146,000 were from outside the EU. Doing the maths, that’s net immigration of 68,000 – comfortably less than the 100,000 target if we control that part of immigration we have the right to control. What Osborne is saying is that he’s not prepared to do the necessary.

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    Nonsense: net immigration is easy to get down to zero, or even negatives numbers. Just carry on with the current policies which are turning this country into a sh*thole and the number of indigenous folk b*ggering off will increase until only the benefit scroungers and public sectors workers are left. Simples.

  • Kitty MLB

    Yes we are overcrowed. The last government sold us down
    the river to the EU.With even closer links to the undemocratic
    socialist EU. Took away our rights and have made us a minority
    in our own country.
    Yes Immigration from within the EU needs dealing with, and I
    am not too sure about these reforms.Yet the PM needs to be
    diplomatic.And any party that says its easy to deal with our
    issues are lying. We should leave the EU but it must be after
    a referendum and will not be as easy as packing a case and saying goodbye.
    Although I wish Cameron could call a general election and
    give us a date for the referendum.

  • Gary Wintle

    Cutting immigration, reducing house prices, abolishing the state pension, ending all railway and bus subsidies…these are what is necessary to turn this country around.

    Sadly, no one has the balls to see them through.

  • misomiso

    The Tories are trying to offer everything apart from what will work:- a Fuil opt out of Freedom of Movement of Labour. They seem to think they can get away with offering less.

    If they makes the opt out the base stone of our renegotiation then the public will take them seriously.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    It took UKIP to force their hand. Otherwise they wouldnt give a sh*t.

    • Guest

      Totally, right?!? I mean, it’s not like the Conservatives have been talking about immigration for the last twenty years, is it? It took Ukip to force their hand, right? W*nker.

      • Alexsandr

        NEWARK is a good anagram 🙂

      • Bill_der_Berg

        It’s true that their tongues have been busy for twenty years and more. Now it’s their hand that is being forced.

  • Mynydd

    When I saw Mr Cameron with his fingers in his ears my first thought was; don’t tell me about the party members, councils, councillors, and MEPs I have lost. But no, fingers in the ears is not knew, they have been there for over four years, because that’s how long he has been told that you cannot reduce net migration without first stopping the free movement of labour within the EU.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It’s really awkward to carry out a policy when you don’t believe in it but are obliged to by opinion polls and focus groups and the people, who have spoken (the bastards).

  • DaveTheRave

    Really? Has he only just realised this? The EU has effectively been one country for some time. The only honest way to deal with Brussels is to leave the EU – and quickly.

  • Richard N

    Osborne:

    ‘We are delivering on the policy, and the key dimension to it which we now need to deliver on is the European aspect.”

    What a scumbag liar! The ‘policy’ is to deliver lower ‘net immigration’ – but that has gone UP, not down!

    So in what universe are these EU quislings ‘delivering on the policy’, pray?

    The poll a few days ago showing that about 80% of those voting UKIP at the EU elections intend to do the same at the next General Election have sounded the death knell for the Tories’ chances of winning the next election: if this poll is only half-accurate in its predictions, it is statistically totally impossible that the Tory party could win.

    And these crony capitalist EU puppet politicians – Cameron and Osborne – know it.

    The biggest driving force propelling UKIP to ever-higher poll ratings (it’s at 28% now in Newark, a Tory stronghold) is not the EU issue – it’s massive opposition to immigration.

    And the EU quisling parties have absolutely nothing they can offer to reduce EU immigration – save some meaningless tinkering with welfare rules.

    The worm is at last turning in Britain – and the Tories are absolutely helpless to do anything about the wave of nationalist rage against the three EU quisling parties, and the devastation they have wrought in obeying the EU’s orders to flood Britain with immigrants to destroy its sense of national identity.

    • Mynydd

      Those 80% who voted UKIP at the EU elections intend to do the same at the next general election haven’t seen the UKIP manifesto. wait until they see, we will privatise the NHS to give it away to American health companies, introduce a £25 doctors tax for each visit to your GP, to up the profits of American heath companies.

      • Alexsandr

        who cares who owns the NHS. as long as the patient gets the proper treatment? NHS is for patients, not the staff.

      • Secular_Investor

        Yet more smears and lies from the LibLabCons and their metro elite media friends: “wait until they see, we will privatise the NHS to give it away to American health companies, introduce a £25 doctors tax for each visit to your GP, to up the profits of American heath companies.”

        Farage has made clear, as have other UKIP spokespeople on Question Time and other programmes that YKIP intends to keep NHS free at point of delivery.

        Farage also explained they do intend to cut the drastically number the huge number of highly paid mangers in order to increase the number of frontline doctors and nurses.

      • Lady Magdalene

        UKIP has no plans to privatise the NHS.

        • Mynydd

          How do you know this? Are you in charge of making UKIP’s NHS plans?

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Hmm, you must be privy to the yet-to-be announced UKIP manifesto, otherwise how else would you able to make these otherwise unsubstantiated claims?

        • Fergus Pickering

          You do it by making it up. Quite easy.

      • Fergus Pickering

        And you know this how exactly?

        • Mynydd

          Various members have said it.

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      That’s not quite what the poll said. I can’t remember the exact wording but I think it was 37% who stated that they were definitely intending to vote Ukip. I imagine that will be whittled down much further as the realities of the election loom large. We’ll just have to wait and see. I hope that I’m right but I can appreciate that you hope, equally strongly, that I’m wrong. The most recent national poll puts Ukip on 15%.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, he had it right, lad, and you have it wrong. The Survation poll had it that UKIP will hold well over 70% of their May 22 MEP voters, not the ” 37% ” figure that you obviously fantasized.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          I was looking at the Comes results. It said that 40% of those who voted Ukip in the Euro electionswere certain to do so again next year.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I have no idea what are these “Comes results” you’re fantasizing. The rest of us use recognized political polling houses, not fantasies.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              Just Google it, simple as that. It’s a pretty well known polling company. Why you accuse me of fantasizing about it I’ve no idea

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Nothing to google, lad. You fantasized it.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  Whatever

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, statistics aren’t “whatever”, lad. Although you Camerluvvie socialists do seem to treat them that way, much like your LibLabCon mates.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      ‘We are delivering on the policy, and the key dimension to it which we now need to deliver on is the European aspect”.

      A good example of the lifeless kind of speech derided by Orwell and others.

  • Smithersjones2013

    It’s surprising, really, that it’s taken them so long to realise that the target was going to be a bit tricky to meet

    Not really Cameron’s Conservatives have a reputation for dim-witted incompetence.

    Until they can offer ‘cast-iron’ quotas on all immigration then they may as well just not bother………

  • goatmince

    Then scrap the migration Eu related migration target (is there one?).
    I bet Helmer’s secretary or the Farge’s wife would welcome that.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …I bet all your sockpuppets would welcome it, lad.

      Glad to see your goat sockpuppet make an appearance, too .

  • HookesLaw

    Why bother? Because the Tories want to limit immigration and they will not do that if they stop trying. Britain’s biggest problem is that labour ignored the transition rules in 2004. There was then nowhere else for EU labour to migrate to, labour made us a soft touch. Its absurd of Ms Hardman to criticise the govt for trying to rectify that, and pathetic that she moans it might be hard.
    And of course its not immigrants on welfare that is our problem, its Britons on welfare.

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      Blimey, obliged to uptick Hooky again.

    • monty61

      Logic flaw there Hooky. I agree that Britons on welfare are our biggest problem, but it becomes an immigration problem when (as happened year after year till very recently) 90% of jobs created went to immigrants.

      Let’s also not forget that ‘growth’ is an illusion for most people, GDP per head (what counts if you’re a person rather than a corporation, or indeed a chancellor) has gone down under the coalition. That’s why most people feel no recovery at all.

      • Lucy Sky Diamonds

        UKIP are bang on the money about removing tax from low pay – it would remove the ‘benefits trap’ instantly.

        • monty61

          Er, isn’t that a (whisper it) Lib Dem policy? Not that this utterly mendacious bunch deserve the credit for anything very much.

        • itdoesntaddup

          Except it wouldn’t. People on benefits don’t make £10k a year from 16 hours a week. If you want to provide incentive to those on benefits you have to slash benefits withdrawal rates. Giving a small sum to every taxpayer just reduces tax take while giving precisely no incentive to those on benefits.

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      The problem is there and it needs dealing with.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    So, really no change. Osborne’s Big Thought?.. saying that a vote for UKIP seriously risks dave’s mythical EU ‘renegotiation’. Hasn’t someone apprised him of what went on last week? Fear Uncertainty & Doubt failed. It’ll fail again. If Labour get in they are next in the firing line. This is not a domestic argument but a long term thing – Get it?

    And, btw, how is the FCO’s risible ‘balance of the competences’ ‘review’ getting on?

    • Hello

      Strange, the way UKIP take this line. If you want out, then don’t you want Cameron to attempt renegotiation and fail miserably? What does it matter to you whether it’s ‘mythical’ or not?

      • Richard N

        Because we don’t want another term of the crony capitalist EU puppet Cameron regime.

        UKIP is going to win the next UK election – you watch and wait.

        • Mynydd

          To win the next UK election, the 2015 general election, UKIP would need to win over 325 seats. Your Mr Farage has already said, UKIP will be targeting only 20 to 30 seats, so there is a disconnect somewhere.

        • Hello

          Two questions:

          Are you financially sound? And are you a betting man?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I’d ask you those same questions, and then whether you want to bet on which spike Dave’s head is going to be mounted on 11.0 months from now .

            • Hello

              That’s because you lack originality.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …so you’re scared, then. You should be, lad.

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        Hey, look, a fake paradox. We don’t want the delay. We don’t want him to have time to twist the promise or misrepresent the result of the renegotiation.

        • Hello

          You don’t want the delay? Ha!

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Because it just kicks the can down the road – playing for time.

        • Hello

          Would you prefer it was held tomorrow then, essentially guaranteeing an in vote, rather than giving you time to prepare your campaign? Or perhaps immediately after the election, when the word of the government is gospel, essentially guaranteeing an in vote? Or, perhaps at an arbitrary point in the future, when the polls are heading in the appropriate direction, essentially guaranteeing an in vote?

          Or perhaps avoid a referendum altogether and just exit in 20 years time when Ukip storm into government on the back of an exit pledge, so as not to delay or kick the can down the road? Of course, half of you chaps will be dead by then, replaced by a more vivacious set of pensioners. But no matter, they’ll have had the enormous pleasure of protracted failure in their dying years.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …or perhaps argue the merits of the matter, after the unserious Camerloons are gone, and Dave’s head is mounted on a spike .

  • Lady Magdalene

    Osborne’s only admitting this now because they know the lies they have peddled for years won’t work any more. Farage has got the message out loud and clear – and people believe him because they can see that what he is saying is the truth.
    Even this morning on Andrew Marr, Anna Soubrey tried to claim that 485 million EU citizens don’t have the right to come to the UK at any time of their choosing.
    So the new tactic of being “honest” with the electorate hasn’t filtered down to her yet.

    • telemachus

      Farage’s master tactic is to try to appear open and honest
      Whilst peddling messages on immigration with racialist overtones
      He is slowly beginning to unravel as it dawns that he is in the camp of Golden Dawn and Marine Le Pen
      Ordinary folk who voted for him on 22May are beginning to feel duped
      *
      Especially when they see he never can deliver

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        When you use the racist epithet too freely, you devalue it until it means nothing. Gobshite.

        • telemachus

          It is a crime not to expose crime

          • Raddiy

            Apart when it is paedophilia supporting lefties like Harriet Harman. Then apparently it is the duty of sheepie lefties to fully back kiddie fiddling supporting senior Labour politicians.

            • telemachus

              Lynton Crosby clearly is earning hos money
              This came about because of Rock’s relationship with Cameron

      • Richard N

        ‘Racist’, blah, blah – the fact is that the Political Correctness fascists like you, with your ‘racist’ epiphet shouted at anyone who dares to oppose watching their country disappear under waves of immigration, is rapidly loosing its power to shut people’s mouths about what they feel.

        • telemachus

          Which is a sign of the moral degeneracy visited on us by Farage

          • Ron Todd

            Farage has said more than once that he will have nothing to do with Le Pen.

            • telemachus

              And you believe him
              They are in the same mould and have the same aims

      • Neil

        Another head in the sand comment…I think you should visit Newark…This so called safe tory seat as of Saturday was said to be down to only 2000 votes. As for for the typical ukip are racist comment then maybe while your in Newark you could speak to the ukip members from Leicester South…

        • telemachus

          I confidently predict that the Tories will burst the Tory bubble on Thursday
          The good British people have had their kick and wiser moral councils will prevail

          • Neil

            Well having actually been there and looking at predictions and even the paddy power website, its obvious that only a fool would make a confident prediction on this one. Unless you know something I dont about Labour voters possibly voting Tory…Nice to know that you dropped the racist thing due to your lack of response.

        • Mynydd

          Mr Farage has stated UKIP will target 20/30 seats, so how many of these will safe Labour seats, will they be in Scotland or Wales, or just a figment of your imagination.

          • Neil

            If ukip win Newark, that will represent a swing of more than 25%. So lets go a year forward as weird ed’s popularity is falling with no hope of an in out eu referendum and the promise of a return to new labours open door immigration policy; then yes it is not beyond the realms of impossibility that ukip will be a major threat. Ukip will not take seats in Scotland or wales but out of labours 79 marginals you still have over 60 in england. Might be a figment of my imagination but hey what do I care….if labour wish to continue to ignore ukip then thats fine by me but it shows an arrogance that people just love to hate.

          • Ben

            He actually said Ukip would TARGET 2 – 3 dozen seats that held a realistic chance for Ukip to win. He said that it was not possible to predict how many would return a Ukip candidate, only, that there was realistic possibility in 2-3 dozen constituencies.

            That is not the same as saying Ukip will win 20 – 30 seats.

            Ukip narrowly lost out to Labour by a mere 6000 votes in the recent Euro elections. Labour’s stranglehold is in decline in Wales. And the sooner change comes then the better for Wales it will be.

            Make no mistake, change is coming and Wales is coming along for the ride.

    • Kitty MLB

      What lies, whose been telling lies?
      I should like to point out that Labour started us on this
      road with the EU and not the Conservative Party.
      What was Cameron to do,he has to agree with reform
      even if he himself is sick of the EU.
      Are you being honest with the electorate, many of us
      wish to leave the EU and have the ability to control
      immigration.And we will have a referendum.
      But how would you go about any of this.
      Knowing the choice of leaving or staying in the EU
      is not UKIP’S or the Conservatives.

      • telemachus

        Ladybird
        Your Leader is absolutely sound on this
        Robust renegotiation then vote
        UKIP has energised the debate and his resolve
        And crazy coots like Le Pen have given great help to Cameron

        • Kitty MLB

          Wasp I see you are stilll buzzing around in a frenzy. My leader needs no advice or patting
          on the head from the party who deliberately
          changed the face of this country.
          Show no remorse, responsibility or even a
          clue how to put things right.
          And don’t link others to Le Pen.
          Not good mannered little wasp!

          • telemachus

            Cameron needs help on this
            He will get it on this issue alone

        • Fergus Pickering

          In what way has Marine given help to Cameron. She reflects the views of the French electorate. How does that help Dave?

      • Lady Magdalene

        Anna Soubrey lied on Marr today, when she tried to claim that 485 million EU citizens don’t have the right to come to the UK at any time of their choosing.
        And no Labour didn’t start us on this road with the EU.
        It was the Conservative Party that took us into the EEC, lying in the process.
        It was the Conservative Party that promoted and signed the Single European Treaty.
        It was the Conservative Party that signed the Maastrict Treaty, creating the EU, without a mandate.
        It is Cameron, Conservative PM, who says he will never take the UK out of the EU.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Soubrey is a waste of space who should be in the Labour party where she belongs.

        • Kitty MLB

          I really deplore that Sourbrey woman, who
          looks like a startled rabbit.We are having
          a referendum in 2017 (would like it earlier)
          Just to get it over and done with myself.
          Its not up to any leader but the electorate.
          Tell me are UKIP actually going to give
          people the choice, or decide for them?

          • telemachus

            Soubrey is one of the Tory superstars along with Esther
            She may achieve Cabinet in the reshuffle

          • Lady Magdalene

            Did Heath give people a choice in 1972?
            Did Mrs Thatcher?
            Did Major?
            No. Not one of them consulted the people.
            It is my opinion that IF UKIP were to win a General Election with a manifesto commitment to invoke Article of the Lisbon Treaty and leave the EU, then we have a mandate to do so: no Referendum necessary.
            If no Referendum was necessary to get us in to the EEC, or to morph it into the EU, then no Referendum is necessary to get us out. Parliament, representing the people, is Sovereign.

      • Mynydd

        You are wrong, Labour did not start us on this road, Conservative’s did. The Conservative Prime Minister Mr Heath signed the Treaty of Rome which had the free movement of labour as one of its founding articles. This was reinforced when the Conservative Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher signed up to the Single Market.

    • Secular_Investor

      @ Lady Magdelene, you make a very good point when you say “Even this morning on Andrew Marr, Anna Soubrey tried to claim that 485 million EU citizens don’t have the right to come to the UK at any time of their choosing.”

      I hope every voter in Newark sees this spectacle of a Tory Minister, lying yet again about immigration, and fawning her agreement about the great benefits of mass migration with Labour’s Trevor Phillips, the great friend of Mendlseson and Blair who organised the mass migration, which has caused such overcrowding resulting so many to suffer the resulting effects of lost job opportunities, wage compression, housing shortages, crowded schools, over burdened NHS and creaking infrastructure.

      It would have been amusing, were it not so pathetic and tragic, that both the Labour and Tories spokespeople agreed that German had benefited so much from mass immigration, totally ignoring the huge surge in EU-sceptiscm and anti EU mass migration policies – even in their beloved Germany, where Merkel lost many MEPs.

    • telemachus

      I see that posters are making ad hominem attacks on Soubrey
      Which is all very well since Soubrey and McVey are tipped for major promotion in the summer reshuffle

      • Fergus Pickering

        What do you mean ‘ad hominem’. They are attacking her because she is a lying scumbaguette. What is ‘ad hominem’ about that. O Stalinist bootlicker?

        • telemachus

          You really are a nice Kentish chap Fergus

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