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Monday, January 13, 2014

More on the migration debate

The Times reports that the rift within the coalition on immigration is not just between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. There are also some big hitters within the Conservative Party who disagree with the Prime Minister as well.

The paper says that Ken Clarke deepened the Conservative rift on Europe and immigration by praising migrants for contributing to British society and contradicting David Cameron’s claims on migration:

The Prime Minister’s trade envoy and former Justice Secretary said that migrants had helped to make Britain “a far more exciting and healthier” society, and derided as deluded the naysayers in his own party.

“I just don’t think it’s true that the European Union is responsible for unacceptable waves of migration,” said Mr Clarke, in an interview with the Financial Times.

In a remark likely to grate on Downing Street, and set him even more firmly into conflict with Tory right-wingers, Mr Clarke added: “The idea that you can have some fundamental debate that somehow stops all these foreigners coming here is rather typical right wing, nationalist escapism, I think.”

My view is that Ken Clarke is absolutely right. The free movement of labour is essential for a market economy. Efforts to limit migration should go no further than preventing abuse of the health and benefit systems.
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