Suella Braverman has urged Rishi Sunak to act on “unsustainable” migration figures, as the Prime Minister faced increasing pressure from his party to clamp down on the numbers.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today net migration for the year to June 2023 was 672,000; while for the whole of 2022 it was 745,000, and higher than previously thought.
Braverman posted on X, formerly Twitter, urging Sunak to “act now to reduce migration to sustainable levels” and said the figures were a “slap in the face to the British public”.
The former Home Secretary said: “We’ve let in an extra million people in just two years, a population equivalent to Birmingham.
“The pressure on housing, the NHS, schools, wages, and community cohesion, is unsustainable. When do we say: enough is enough?”
She argued that Brits voted for Conservative governments “on a pledge to reduce net migration” and claimed that as home secretary she had pushed for an annual cap; raising the salary threshold; closing graduate visas; capping health visas and limiting dependants.
Her comments came after the New Conservatives group, formed of MPs elected post-Brexit, released its own statement this morning criticising the government for the migration figures.
“Net migration has not only failed to fall since 2019, it has trebled,” they wrote. “Across every single category of immigration, numbers are on the rise.
“We cannot blame exceptional circumstances; this is a consistent trend. It has been caused directly by the policy decisions of this government. And it has gone on for far too long.”
The group argued against “phantom Treasury growth” in favour of a real boost to living standards and claimed “the public can tell the difference” and “won’t accept it”.
“The word ‘existential’ has been used a lot in recent days but this really is ‘do or die’ for our party,” they added. “Each of us made a promise to the electorate. We don’t believe that such promises can be ignored.”
The MPs want government to issue “today, a comprehensive package of measures to meet the manifesto promise by the time of the next election… we must act now”.
Downing Street was asked whether the Prime Minister had got the balance right this year between lowering net migration and supporting the economy.
A No10 spokeswoman said: “He remains clear it is too high and that’s why we are looking at further options but we need to do this and approach this and respond in a way that also supports our economy.”