The Conservatives have unveiled figures which show that the number of foreign workers in Britain has virtually doubled under the Labour Government – from 2 million in 1997 to 3.8 million today – and the story is the splash in today’s Daily Mail and Daily Express.

This figure is based on House of Commons Library research commissioned by shadow work and pensions minister, James Clappison, and means that 13% of those working in Britain were born abroad. Furthermore, two thirds of them come from outside the EU, equivalent to 9% of the total workforce.

Mr Clappison said that the figures were "yet more evidence that Labour have failed to bring migration from outside the EU under control, despite repeated promises to do so".

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green added:

"There cannot be anyone left in this country who believes Gordon Brown’s pledge of British jobs for British workers. This shows the continuing failure of the Government’s immigration policy. A Conservative Government would introduce an annual limit on work permits for people from outside the EU. That’s the only way you can get some control into the system."

However, there was no comment forthcoming from a Conservative spokesman on a new MigrationWatch study also published today, which shows that there are up to four times the number of EU workers employed in the UK as British-born workers employed in the other 26 countries of the EU.

According to its research, 286,000 UK nationals are working elsewhere in the European Union, whilst 1,172,000 of those born elsewhere in the EU are now working in the UK.

I gather that the party opted not to comment on this study on the basis that it has no intention of trying to change the EU rules on free movement of labour.

Jonathan Isaby

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