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Pressure Mounts on UK Prime Minister Over Record Migration

Suella Braverman, the former UK Home Secretary, has joined fellow Conservative MPs in urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take swift action to reduce net migration to the UK, citing concerns over its unsustainable levels. The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently released revised estimates, revealing that net migration reached a record high of 745,000 in the year ending December 2022.

Braverman, who previously pushed for measures such as an annual cap on net migration, the closure of the graduate visa route, and a cap on health and social care visas, tweeted that the government has let in an extra million people in two years, equivalent to the population of Birmingham. She warned that the pressure on housing, the NHS, schools, wages, and community cohesion is unsustainable and called for the government to take immediate action.

Many fellow Conservative MPs have echoed Braverman’s sentiments, calling for the government to honour its 2019 election pledge to reduce net migration numbers. The New Conservative group of MPs, led by Miriam Cates, Danny Kruger, and Sir John Hayes, demanded a comprehensive package of measures to meet the manifesto promise, warning that the party’s reputation is at stake.

Former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg confessed his embarrassment at the government’s failure to control post-Brexit borders, stating that the figures reveal a serious political failure. Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke added that the level is unsustainable both economically and socially, while Neil O’Brien described the numbers as “extraordinary” and urged Sunak to take immediate and massive action.

Rishi Sunak (Via Rishi Sunak/Twitter)

Labour has seized upon the figures, labeling the government’s record on immigration as abysmal. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper pointed to the 54 per cent increase in work visas and 156 per cent increase in health and social care visas as evidence of the government’s failure to address skills, training, and workforce planning issues.

The ONS estimates indicate a slowing of immigration coupled with increasing emigration, but it is unclear if this represents a new downward trend. The government’s Home Secretary, James Cleverly, claimed that the latest figure is largely in line with their own estimates and assured the public that the government remains committed to reducing legal migration.

The revised figures reveal that the majority of arrivals in the year ending June 2023 were non-EU nationals (968,000), followed by EU citizens (129,000) and British nationals (84,000). Study remains the biggest contributor to non-EU immigration, accounting for 39 per cent, while arrivals via humanitarian routes have fallen significantly.

The controversy surrounding the record-high migration figures has sparked a heated debate in the UK, with many calling for the government to take swift action to address the issue.

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