David Cameron: We'll put a limit on immigration
By James Chapman
Last updated at 12:15 AM on 24th July 2009
David Cameron: 'Uncontrolled immigration has been a mistake'
Uncontrolled immigration has been 'damaging' for Britain and would be capped by a Tory government, David Cameron said last night.
He attacked Home Secretary Alan Johnson for declaring he 'did not lie awake' worrying about immigration that means Britain's population will rise from its current level of 61million to 70million in the next few years.
'Well, I do,' the Tory leader said. 'I thought it was an extraordinary statement to make.'
He added: 'The fact we have had uncontrolled immigration over the last decade, I think has been a mistake and has been damaging.
'That's why we would like to have a proper points system with limits attached to it so we can actually get immigration under control.'
In the early stages of his leadership, Mr Cameron was reluctant to speak out on immigration for fear of being branded xenophobic.
But the Tory leader believes voters are ready for a ' grownup debate' on issues of overcrowding and pressure on public services caused by immigration.
A Tory government, he says, would aim to return net immigration levels to those of the Major and Thatcher years.
Figures of more than 200,000 recorded in recent years, he believes, are 'too high'.
Reducing levels to those of the 1990s would mean around 50,000 immigrants a year to be allowed to settle in Britain.
A Tory government is pledged to set annual limits on economic migration from outside the EU 'substantially lower' than the current rate and set up a border police force with powers to track down and remove illegal migrants.
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