James Brokenshire, the new immigration minister, will use a speech later today to accuse a “wealthy metropolitan elite” of middle class households of supporting mass immigration through their desire for cheap services. He will also claim that “ordinary, hard-working people” have not seen much benefit from the recent influx of migrants.
The speech is an attempt to align the Conservatives with more working class voters, a policy announced by Grant Shapps and John Major last month. Tory strategists believe that the only way to win a majority in 2015 is to reposition the party and talk about more issues that interest working class voters in the North and Midlands.
Mr Brokenshire will say: “For too long, the benefits of immigration went to employers who wanted an easy supply of cheap labour, or to the wealthy metropolitan elite who wanted cheap tradesmen and services – but not to the ordinary, hard-working people of this country,
“Uncontrolled mass immigration can force wages down and house prices up and put pressure on social cohesion and public services. And let me be clear – it can also cause displacement in the labour market.
“In the past year net migration from the EU has doubled, and this figure is – frankly – just too high.
“Some have tried to claim that this rapid increase is somehow ‘good’ for the country. Well, just like the Home Secretary, I disagree.”
The speech, to the think tank Demos, is unlikely to go down well in all quarters. It will further inflame coalition tensions as many Liberal Democrats are supportive of mass immigration, with Vince Cable leading the charge.
Mr Brokenshire’s predecessor as immigration minister, Mark Harper, was forced to stand down after he discovered his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.