The Conservatives have consistently missed their mark, but Britain's prime minister says she'll cut immigration if they return to power. Polls have the Tories winning a large majority in June's elections.
On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May said her Conservatives would keep their pledge to bring net immigration to the United Kingdom down to "tens of thousands" per year if they win elections next month. Recent opinion polls put May's Tories 15-20 percentage points ahead of Labour, the UK's largest opposition party.
"I think it is important that we continue, and we will continue, to say that we do want to bring net migration down to sustainable levels," May said on Monday at a campaign event in London ahead of the June 8 snap elections. "We believe that is the tens of thousands."
The Conservatives have pledged to reduce net immigration to below 100,000 people annually since they took power in 2010, though they have consistently missed that target. The most recent government data puts net immigration to the United Kingdom at about 270,000 people annually.
May said the Brexit would help meet the Tories' goal of keeping a net 170,000-plus people from moving to the UK in the coming years. "Leaving the EU means that we won't have free movement as it has been in the past," she said on Monday. "And, of course," she added, "once we leave the European Union we will have the opportunity to ensure that we have control of our borders here in the UK, because we'll be able to establish our rules for people coming from the European Union into the UK."
mkg/kms (Reuters, dpa)