At last night’s debate on the European Union between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg, the following exchange took place regarding Migration Watch’s recently released paper ‘The Outlook for EU migration’:
Nigel Farage: “Indeed there was a report out this morning from Migration Watch which said that even at current numbers we’ve got to build a new city the size of Manchester to cope with immigration over the next four to five years. What I want is for us to get back control of our borders and be selective about who comes here."
Nick Clegg: “The population of Manchester… (tailed off). Here’s an interesting thing, we’ve heard it again. More dangerous scaremongering. The population of Manchester….the population of Greater Manchester is 2.7 million, it is a nonsense, this idea that 2.7 million people are going to come from the EU, only 1.5 million have come from the EU since 2004 Carey (audience member who asked question) and half of those have gone back home.”
We have the following, clarifying points to make about this exchange:
1) The population of the city of Manchester and metropolitan borough is 500,000. The population of the urban area is 2,550,000, while the population of the ceremonial county of Greater Manchester is 2,700,000.
2) Migration Watch’s report made it clear that we were talking about the population of the city (500,000 people), not the 2.7 million who live in the wider county.
3) It seems that Mr Clegg deliberately chose to conflate the population of the city of Manchester with the larger urban area the city is a part of.