General Election 2017: May sticks with net migration pledge

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, The PM visited a manufacturing company in Enfield on the first full day of general election campaigning

Theresa May has indicated she will stick with the government's long-running aim of reducing migration to below 100,000.

The target, first set by David Cameron in 2010, has never been met and net migration was 273,000 according to the latest figures.

Mrs May said she wanted "sustainable" levels of migration which she said would be in the tens of thousands.

She was speaking on a general election campaign visit to Enfield in London.

With the 8 June election announcement taking most of Westminster by surprise, the parties have yet to put forward formal policy manifestos, but Mrs May indicated her backing for the migration pledge, which she was responsible for as home secretary under Mr Cameron.

"We want to see sustainable net migration in this country," she told the BBC.

"I believe that sustainable net migration is in the tens of thousands.

"Leaving the European Union enables us to control our borders in relation to people coming from the EU, as well as those who are coming from outside."

Questions had been raised about whether the commitment would feature in the Conservative manifesto after Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said earlier that immigration was "not about putting numbers on it" but about ensuring Britain had the skilled workers it needed.

The government has promised new migration controls after the UK leaves the EU, when freedom of movement rules will no longer apply.

But it has yet to set out the precise model it will adopt.

Mrs May hit back at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who used a campaign speech to paint the general election as the "people against the Establishment" and an "ego trip" for the PM.

She said the election was about "ensuring that we have strong and stable leadership in this country" as well as strengthening the government's hand in Brexit talks.