London MP: Conservatives Cannot ‘Out-UKIP UKIP on Immigration or EU’
Mark Field, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, has warned the Conservative Party not to try to out-do UKIP’s policies on immigration and the European Union. His comments came as he launched the Managed Migration Group today.
Mr Field was making the case for a middle ground between the uncontrolled immigration of the last Labour Government and calls for much stricter controls from groups like UKIP. Field believes that it is pointless for the Conservatives to pursue UKIP on this issue because they will never bring UKIP voters back as long as they do not pledge to leave the European Union.
The MP said: "In the General Elections of 2001 and 2005, William Hague and Michael Howard respectively made a crackdown on immigration the centrepiece of the Tory campaign. At least then we cornered the market as the only Party taking a hard line on migrant numbers. That is not going to be the case when we go to the polls during the next year. In short, we cannot out-UKIP UKIP on immigration. Especially as we are not going to match their offer of withdrawal from the EU."
In his speech, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, the London MP also raised concerns that Conservatives were missing out on migrant votes. He said: “The other harsh electoral truth which the Party must face is that the number of immigrants on the electoral roll gets markedly bigger year by year. What is the Conservative message to these voters?
"One of the most alarming statistics I have read in recent weeks, is that Labour are out-polling the Tories three to one among Polish nationals voting here in the EU elections. It is hard to believe that this is unrelated to perceived Conservative hostility towards both immigrants and the European Union."
Under rules agreed by the last government any European Union national can settle in UK. Many hundreds of thousands, mainly poor, Eastern Europeans have taken advantage of the system. The Managed Migration Group claims to have the support of 20 MPs.