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May repeats 'tens of thousands' vow

Published 07/04/2015

Net migration rose under the coalition Government from 244,000 in 2010 to 298,000 in 2014
Net migration rose under the coalition Government from 244,000 in 2010 to 298,000 in 2014

A Conservative government would aim to cut net migration to the tens of thousands if the party wins power at the May 7 general election, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

But Mrs May stopped short of giving a "no ifs, no buts" pledge to reduce the annual figure below 100,000, as David Cameron did ahead of the 2010 poll.

Latest figures show that net migration - the number of people entering the country minus the number leaving - rose under the coalition Government from 244,000 in 2010 to 298,000 in 2014.

Asked whether the Tories would repeat Mr Cameron's pledge in their manifesto, Mrs May told BBC News: "We are very clear - the Prime Minister and I have both already said that that is the right ambition to have in terms of bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands.

"The reason we want to do that is that we recognise that actually overall immigration is good for the country but you need some control in the immigration system. If it is uncontrolled, as we saw under the last Labour government, it puts pressure on public services and it can depress incomes at the lower end of the income scale.

"There's a very good reason why we want to control immigration. We have been bringing control into the immigration system, but there is more for us to do."

Asked if she would repeat the "no ifs, no buts" pledge, Mrs May said: "We are very clear, we are aiming for that tens of thousands."

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