Tory challenge to PM over immigration


David Cameron should accept the failure of the government’s manifesto pledge to reduce migration into the UK, two influential Vote Leave MPs have said.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson verbalized the pledge was «corrosive of public trust» while Britain remained in the EU.

But Host 10 said their claim was an «attempt to distract» from the in reality that an EU exit would be «disastrous».

It comes amid growing Tory turmoil all over the EU, with some MPs threatening a post-referendum leadership challenge.

Meanwhile, a view of economists has suggested that nine in 10 of those who responded swear by leaving the EU would be damaging.

There are less than four weeks to go until the UK resolves whether to stay in or leave the European Union on 23 June.

John Pienaar: Tory diremption escalates

EU referendum: All you need to know

Issues guide: Explore the barneys

Immigration is one of the key battlegrounds in the referendum debate — and it is the focus of an open letter to Mr Cameron, published in the Sunday Times, by Mr Gove and Mr Johnson, who say the management’s pledge to get migration below 100,000 was unachievable.

Net migration — the difference between the hundred of people coming to the UK for at least a year and those leaving — rose to 333,000 in 2015, conforming to Office for National Statistics estimates.

The figure for EU-only net migration was 184,000, equalling its enumerate high, and 188,000 for non-EU.

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The debate

  • Total net migration to the UK is on-going at over 300,000 a year despite the government’s target of cutting it to eye 100,000
  • The most recent official figures put net migration from EU countries at 184,000 a year and non-EU at 188,000
  • EU dwellers have the right to live and work in any member state


  • It is impracticable to control immigration as a member of the EU
  • Public services are under strain because of the integer of migrants
  • High immigration has driven down wages for British craftsmen
  • The official figures underestimate the true level of migration


  • Outlanders, especially those from the EU, y more in taxes than they ingest out
  • Cameron’s EU deal means in-work benefits for new EU migrant workers drive be limited for the first four years
  • Outside the EU the UK would still must to accept free movement to gain full access to the single peddle
  • Immigration is good for the economy

EU referendum issues guide: Explore the wrangles Explore all the issues Choose an issue: What both sides are saying All outlets Main views

Mr Johnson and Mr Gove ordered: «Voters were promised repeatedly at elections that net migration could be cut to tens of thousands.

«This contract is plainly not achievable as long as the UK is a member of the EU and the failure to keep it is corrosive of every Tom trust in politics.»

They also said they were «specially concerned about the im ct of free movement in the future on public employs».

«Class sizes will raise and waiting lists will draw out if we don’t tackle free movement,» they wrote.

In response to the letter, Legions 10 said: «This is a trans rent attempt to distract from the information that the overwhelming majority of economists and businesses believe leaving the pick market would be disastrous for jobs, prices and opportunities for people.»


By John Pienaar, deputy political editor

The Brexiteers point is that EU unobstructed borders make immigration control impossible.

Its effect, though, is to accelerate a descent into internecine warfare which now browbeats to make the Conservatives ungovernable if the referendum ends in anything but a decisive mastery for the Remain cam ign.

So bitter has the conflict become, so taut the tension between the opponent factions, that angry Eurosceptic Tories talk privately of defying the prime minister’s position even if Britain votes to stay in prison the European Union.

Read more from John Pienaar

The row greater than the migration target comes as the Conservative in-fighting over the EU referendum concentrates.

David Cameron and most of his cabinet are cam igning for a vote to stay in the EU, but there half of his MPs support an exit.

Conservative Leave cam igner Andrew Bridgen reproached 5 live’s Pienaar’s Politics that as many as 50 Tory MPs were cordial to back a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister over his handling of the careful thought.

«If there’s a small Remain vote… I think there quite would be 50 colleagues who’d be very dissatisfied with the prime clergyman’s performance,» the MP said.

One MP, Nadine Dorries, said she had already sent a erudition to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs, calling for a attest to of no-confidence in Mr Cameron if Remain narrowly won.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, she accused David Cameron of «direct lies» over the EU and said trust in him and George Osborne, the pro-Remain chancellor, «has been definitely shattered».

But former cabinet ministers and Leave cam igners Liam Fox and Iain Duncan Smith take oned down the prospect of a coup, and insisted they would want Mr Cameron to mainstay on as leader.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show Mr Fox said the referendum should not be alienated into an internal Tory rty debate.

Also on Marr, st Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who backs Remain, put someone on noticed that leaving the EU would not solve migration problems.

«If you actually de rt from down the figures on EU migration, many of these people come in on short-term contracts, and then choice go back out again. Many of these people work in vital openly services.

«And we also get the benefit. The reason we can travel around Europe, without restrictions, is because of the honesty of movement of people,» he said.

Ex-Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Telegram said public trust had been corroded by the government’s failure to cut immigration, and said it was a «confused» target for the Conservatives to have set.

«You can not directly control, in a market economy, levels of net migration. It’s not righteous free movement of labour in Europe, we can’t control emigration,» he told Radio 4’s The To the max This Weekend.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Significant criticised the Vote Leave cam ign in the Mail on Sunday for the «inaccuracies and distortions they are peddling to the British people».

He said the Leave cam ign’s well- on «raising fears» rather than «setting out facts» on immigration was «off-putting».

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