Cameron faces heat over immigration


 With net annual migration soaring to more than a quarter of a million, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to reduce the figures has been questioned.

Official figures showed net migration has risen to 260,000 in the 12 months to June, compared with 182,000 in the previous year.

His Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg hit out at Cameron Thursday for undermining public confidence in the immigration system by “over-promising and under-delivering” on the issue, the Independent reported.

Before the election, Cameron had promised to reduce the figure from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands, asking to be judged on whether he hit the target.

The latest figures, however, show net migration is presently running at higher levels than the government inherited from Labour.

They will add to the pressure over immigration on the prime minister, who is set to outline proposals within days for limiting migration from the EU, the Independent reported.

The bulk of the new arrivals are economic migrants from the EU, principally from eastern Europe as well as Mediterranean countries, who have full entitlement to work in Britain.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the latest statistics were proof of the need to limit freedom of movement within the EU.

But Clegg turned on Tory coalition partners, saying that their failure to meet Cameron’s migration target, which his party had opposed, would undermine public confidence in the immigration system.

“This was a Conservative preoccupation. They made that promise. They have now broken that promise and they will have to suffer the embarrassment of having done so,“ he said.

“It does damage public confidence in the immigration system by over-promising and under-delivering in this way.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, 583,000 people moved to Britain over the period, a “statistically significant increase” from the 502,000 in the previous 12 months. It included a 45,000 rise from the EU and 30,000 from outside the EU.

Net migration to Britain or, the difference between those arriving and leaving was 260,000 in the period, up from 182,000 in the previous 12 months, as 323,000 people emigrated from the country.