Tougher stance on immigration could have 'changed result of election', research shows
Thousand more voters could have switched to the Tories, potentially changing the result of the election, if the party had adopted a tougher stance on immigration, according to a poll.
Published: 7:00AM BST 14 Jun 2010
During the general election campaign, immigration was described as the issue which dares not speak its name because of the party leaders' unwilingness to discuss it.
The YouGov survey found that a tougher line on immigration was the single most important influence in influencing people who voted Liberal Democrat and Labour to switch to the Conservatives.
Migrationwatch, which commissioned the research, said it showed that how adopting a tougher line on immigration “could have changed the result of the General Election”.
More than half of Labour and Lib Dem supporters would have switched allegiance if the Tories had boasted a strong stance on controlling immigration, the YouGov research found.
Sir Andrew Green, the groups chairman, said: Had the parties listened to the public we might have a very different political landscape.
The new Government will have the public behind them in taking serious measures to address mass immigration. What is more, they will be held to account if they fail to do so.
He continued: Immigration was, after the economy, the foremost concern for the vast majority of voters and yet none of the parties properly addressed it.
Earlier this month Ed Balls, the former Schools secretary and a contender to be the next Labour leader, admitted it had been a mistake for Labour not to have restricted immigration from eastern Europe.
In 1997, annual net immigration into the UK stood at 48,000, rising to 237,000 a year in 2007 and falling back to 163,000 in 2008.
At current projections, Britain is on course to have a population of 70 million by the year 2029 because of increasing net immigration.
During the election campaign, Frank Field, Labour MP and Coalition poverty adviser, had warned in an article in The Daily Telegraph that immigration was the issue which “dares not speak its name”.
He said:: Our political leaders must allow the ballot box to decide this issue before anger over the scale of immigration spreads to our streets.
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