Cameron_looking_leftThat is how I would sum up the message which David Cameron delivered when asked about the thorny issue of immigration by Jeff Randall on Sky News last night.

The Tory leader has not exactly gone out of his way to raise the matter during his leadership, after the party courted criticism for making it too prominent an issue at the last general election.

However, he denied the suggestion that he had avoided discussing it and said the following:

“I think that immigration is too high, I think it needs to belimited and I think the numbers need to come down… I don’t think in any way I’ve shied away from thispolicy, but I wanted to make sure the Conservative Party would belistened to and heard as a bunch of reasonable people making areasonable point. The problem in the past is whenever we’ve talked about this issue people questioned our motives – why are they doing that?”

“I think it was very important to make it clear that we believe in a multiracial Britain. We believe it’s a success. We think immigration has been good for Britain in the past. We think immigration will continue, but not any immigration, not all immigration, it needs to be controlled."

"Controlled Immigration" was of course the fifth of Michael Howard’s five two-word phrases which he said summed up the major planks of Conservative policy in advance of the 2005 general election.

Jonathan Isaby