The former UK Defence Secretary and senior Conservative party figure Dr. Liam Fox has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to ditch his unachievable pledge to lower net migration into the UK.
Fox – speaking after new figures revealed the government’s pledge to reduce immigration to be ‘in tatter’s – said that the immigration-sceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) would do damage to the Conservatives at upcoming elections, and that Cameron would be guilty of “dangerous complacency” if he ignored that fact.
Fox wrote in the Sunday Telegraph:
“Latest polling shows that some 45 per cent of Ukip’s current support voted Conservative in 2010, with only 14 per cent having voted Lib Dem and 8 per cent Labour. How should the Tories respond? The first thing is to understand that it is unwise in politics to be defined by your competitors. The correct response is to set out a positive vision, clear philosophy and definable objectives.
“When it comes to the matters affecting the country and the proportion of voters who see each as important, Tory voters have immigration at 64 per cent, the economy at 60 per cent and welfare reform at 34 per cent. Ukip voters have immigration at 83 per cent, the economy at 49 per cent, and Europe at 36 per cent.
“If the Tories are to bring back enough of these voters to win an overall majority at the election, there needs to be a clearer narrative on immigration, stressing not only the need to restrict numbers, but also to determine which individuals, with what skills, enter our country.”
Fox referred to Cameron’s pledge to reduce net migration into the United Kingdom as “statistical nonsense” and said that party policy should be focused on actual numbers “that affect school places, housing and health”.
In January, the BBC’s ‘The Truth About Immigration‘ programme highlighted the fact that at many schools, English is now either a second language, or not spoken at all by some students. A study reported by the Telegraph also revealed that at one in nine schools in Britain, English is not the first language spoken by the majority of students.
While the Conservatives are not far behind the Labour Party in polling, UKIP stand at 13 points to the Tories’ 32, Labour’s 38, and the Liberal Democrats’ 9.
If the 45 percent of UKIP voters that Fox mentioned were to be attracted back to the Conservative Party, this would put the Conservatives just one or two points behind Labour in the polls – what would be a remarkable position for an incumbent government one year before a general election.