THE uncertainty created by Brexit makes it hard to draw up concrete policies in many areas. But Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union has changed the context for one issue in particular: immigration. Labour’s manifesto is cautiously vague, promising “fair rules” and reasonable management. But Theresa May has reiterated one long-running Conservative promise: to bring net migration (immigration minus emigration) to below 100,000 a year. This commitment, and the party’s ongoing failure to fulfil it, has hurt the Tories in the past. That makes their dogged adherence to it all the stranger.
David Cameron introduced the pledge in 2010 in an effort to win an election. The ploy worked—but he got nowhere near meeting the target. Mrs May is only slightly more likely to succeed. Until now the Conservatives have been able to blame the EU, whose rules on free movement mean that much immigration to Britain is beyond the control of the government. After Brexit, cutting migration…Continue reading