Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has hinted that the Conservatives’ aim of reducing net migration to tens of thousands will not appear as a commitment in the party’s election manifesto.
Ms Rudd confirmed that the Conservatives were re-examining their target as she appeared to soften the party’s stance by describing immigration as an “absolute positive” for the UK.
Asked if the “tens of thousands” figure that appeared in the 2015 manifesto would be repeated in the 2017 document, she said: “It’s not going to be identical to the last one. We’re setting it out for hopefully a five year term, we’ve got a lot to think through to work out what’s the best way to deliver on our priorities.”
She told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “My personal view is we need to continue to bring immigration down. I want to make sure that we do it in a way that supports businesses.”
Theresa May, Ms Rudd’s predecessor at the Home Office, has insisted she wants to see “sustainable” net migration, which she has defined as “in the tens of thousands”.
Asked if she agreed with her Cabinet colleague Karen Bradley, who said immigration policy was “not about putting numbers on it”, Ms Rudd said: “It’s too early to say. I appreciate you want to push me on this but we are going to have to wait until the manifesto comes out.”