February 22, 2011
Figures due out on Thursday will, for the first time, officially confirm that net foreign immigration under Labour exceeded three million. This is the context for a detailed indictment of the Labour Government’s record on immigration published today in Briefing Paper No 11.24. It forensically examines one of the most significant and far reaching changes ever imposed on the fabric of Britain - despite the wishes of the vast majority of its citizens.
The document, ‘Immigration – Labour’s enduring legacy to Britain’ - from think-tank Migration Watch, has brought together the principal facts and figures resulting from the largest wave of immigration for nearly a thousand years.
Migration Watch was one of the few voices consistently raised in opposition to mass immigration during the Blair and Brown years and was regularly vilified by Labour politicians and the immigration lobby.
Now we find that, as the Labour supporting Institute of Public Policy Research recently put it; “It is no exaggeration to say that immigration under New Labour has changed the face of the country.”
‘We would agree, the sheer scale of what has occurred is changing Britain fundamentally and irrevocably and in ways the majority of the population did not ask for, were not consulted about and did not wish to see,’ said Migration Watch chairman, Sir Andrew Green. ‘Urgent action is needed to place firm limits on any further immigration’
The report shows that in the years before Blair’s government net immigration was running at around 50,000 a year, but in 1997 the floodgates were opened and numbers quadrupled with the result that over three million migrants came to Britain and stayed here plus, perhaps, a further one million who came and stayed illegally. At the same time nearly a million British citizens left the country.
This is in sharp contrast to Labour’s 1997 election manifesto which declared that “Every country must have firm control over immigration and Britain is no exception.”
‘This has been a clear failure of democracy due in large part to the left’s deliberate tactic of stifling reasoned debate with accusations of racism,’ said Sir Andrew, ‘ In the years to come immigration will be seen as Labour’s great betrayal.’
He added that the raw statistics were difficult to envisage.
‘But when you consider that three million extra people on this island equates to the creation of three cities the size of Birmingham, seven the size of Manchester or 20 the size of Harrogate with all that that means for the pressure on our roads, railways, housing, infrastructure, the environment, schools, hospitals and the general quality of life it gives some idea of the scale of what Labour has bequeathed to us all.’
Some of the key headlines from the report are:
Said Sir Andrew: ‘Immigration on a sensible scale has clear benefits but only if it is both properly controlled and limited in scale. It is still not entirely clear whether the outcome of the Labour years was a result of gross incompetence or some politically motivated desire to change the whole nature of our society. Policy might also have been influenced by the fact that many immigrants become Labour voters.
‘The present government will have to stick to their guns if they are to clear up the shambles they inherited and get a grip of developments that could otherwise fundamentally change the whole nature of our society.’
Note to Editors:
1 Mr Blair’s 690 page memoir has only one substantive page on immigration in which he describes his strategy for handling it at the 2005 election: “Because our position was sophisticated enough – a sort of ‘confess and avoid’, as the lawyers say – we won out.” (page 524).
2 The IPPR quote is from “Immigration under Labour”, November 2010, page 4.