You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tory minister can't say if immigration will go up or down in car crash interview

Mirror logo Mirror 08/11/2019 Nicola Bartlett & Dan Bloom

One of Boris Johnson's top team was left flailing in a live radio interview as she was unable to say if immigration will go up or down.

Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins refused to answer the question four times when she was grilled on Tory plans for a 'points-based' immigration system.

It comes after the Tories failed to ever meet David Cameron's target to cut net migration below 100,000 a year - a target that has now finally been dropped.

Ms Atkins said: "We want to get the brightest and best coming to our country."

But under questioning from BBC host Nick Robinson, she could not say whether or not the Tories want immigration to be higher or lower than it is now.

"We want to have immigration that suits the needs of the country," she said.

© Reuters

Ms Atkins was challenged to outline the changes the Conservative Party is seeking to make to Britain's immigration system should their party secure another term in power after the December 12  election .

Prime Minister  Boris Johnson  repeatedly pledged to introduce a new Australia-style, points-based system to regulate access to the UK from both the European Union and the rest of the world.

Yet it's not known if numbers will go up and down. Quizzed today, Ms Atkins tried to shift the focus to Labour - whose members voted to drop a string of immigration controls at the party conference.

BBC Today host Nick Robinson questioned her on the details of her party's new immigration policy: "I guess if you do want people to vote for you they probably would expect you to have an immigration policy.

"I’m struck by the fact that you said you are in the process of developing one.

"Will the Conservative manifesto – and you may not want to tell me what’s in it – have the details of your immigration policy?"

a man standing next to a plane: Boris Johnson's plans are, well, not entirely clear © PA Boris Johnson's plans are, well, not entirely clear

He added: "You’ll understand that’s a slogan? It means nothing on its own. It’s like saying a food-based diet.

"A points-based system just means there will be points in the system - it doesn’t tell me who’ll come or how many will come."

It comes after Boris Johnson was accused of slapping a "nurse tax" on medics who come from the EU.

The PM said his future ‘points based’ immigration system will retain the £400 a year charge on foreign citizens who use the NHS, even if they work for it.

Those who work for the NHS will be able to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of their salary - leading to what the Lib Dem’s called a nurse tax.

Related: Brexit: A timeline (Photos)

And the Royal College of Nursing said the “cruel and heartless charge should be abolished”.

It means that an EU nurse who comes to the UK as part of a family of four will have to shell out almost £10,000 over five years.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokeswoman Christine Jardine said: “The Conservatives have effectively created a new Nurse Tax.

“It is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives service coming to work in our health service from the EU.

“The NHS relies on 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses from elsewhere in the EU, and we’ve already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years.

“ Brexit is making the NHS nursing crisis worse, and only the cure the Tories can offer is a new nurses tax.”

MSN UK is committed to Empowering the Planet and taking urgent action to protect our environment. We’re supporting Friends of the Earth to help solve the climate crisis - please give generously here or find out more about our campaign here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon