Immigration Controls

Part of Opposition Day — [19th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:29 pm on 21st October 2008.

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Photo of Christopher Huhne Christopher Huhne Shadow Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Home Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice & Lord Chancellor, Ministry of Justice 4:29 pm, 21st October 2008

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, as he has made the matter extremely clear.

The third element of the crisis of confidence is the lack of local preparedness among councils and police, health and housing authorities. The London boroughs of Brent or Newham offer good examples of what I mean. On a recent visit to Newham, I was told that GP registrations were running tens of thousands higher than the census projections, which means that there is no follow-through in budgets for the local police or NHS. It is therefore essential that we plan for managed immigration, not least because that would allow us to prepare local areas sensibly for the arrival of those given permission to be here.

The Conservative Opposition's motion calls for a limit to immigration, and that is certainly more sensible than some of their previous calls for an annual cap, but there is a typical failure to define terms. In addition, there is a contradiction in the motion: in one place it welcomes the real benefits of immigration, yet in another approvingly cites somebody from the other place as saying that "large-scale immigration" has uncertain benefits. It would be interesting to hear from a Conservative Member exactly what the difference is between the real benefits of a low level of immigration and the unpersuasive benefits of large-scale immigration.

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