Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Cameron’s immigration speech and Liz Kendall’s press gallery hustings

Liz Kendall will be pleased with her press gallery outing this afternoon. Most journalists here probably aren’t Labour party members, and won’t be voting in the leadership contest, but over the next four months they will be writing many of the stories that shape how the candidates are viewed, and therefore it’s best to leave a good impression. Kendall certainly achieved that. Here’s the Evening Standard’s political editor, Joe Murphy.

Well, @LizforLeader just blew collective lobby socks off. Will @andyburnhammp and @YvetteCooperMP come and do a turn in the Gallery next?

Well, that was an excellent performance from Liz Kendall at press gallery lunch. Will be very interesting to see how Burnham and Cooper do.

Liz Kendall disowns Labour policies one by one in Press Gallery speech: opposing free schools, cutting tuition fees, energy price freeze…

I think it can be said that @Liz4Leader has passed that test: lunch with the Westminster press pack.

My goodness!! Liz Kendall must be the first to “Smell the Coffee” and accept the voters had a point. She mustn’t be the next Leader!!

Liz Kendall‘s campaign team have sent out a text of her opening remarks. She departed from the script slightly, but I’ll use the quotes anyway.

Here are the key points from the speech. I will post the key points from the Q&A separately.

I want to lead a Labour party that’s genuinely as passionate about wealth creation as we are about wealth distribution.

I want Labour not just to ‘understand’ business but be the champion of people who take a risk, create something, build it up and make a success of it …

Under this government we’ve seen a quiet diminishing of Britain’s role in the world, which we did too little to challenge because we’ve been paralysed by the past.

Under my leadership, Labour will no longer stand by while the Prime Minister weakens our country and allows the world to become less secure.

When it comes to the public services I am firmly on the side of the public. The clue is in the name. Services should revolve around the people who use them – not the other way round – and be fit for the future, not stuck in the past.

There’s no point in saying you believe in economic credibility, and being careful with taxpayers money, if the public services that money pays for are a reform free zone.

As leader, I’m not going to waste time obsessing about school structures. If a school is providing a great education – whether it’s a local authority, academy or free school – we will back it. Full stop.

What’s more, if someone wants to help run their school, they deserve credit not criticism.

In the face of our wipeout in Scotland, and the growing sense of grievance in England, any simple or quick answers would be glib.

However, a radical devolution of powers within England must be a crucial part of our response. We need a new settlement for four countries in ONE union. That’s a huge task, which I’ve asked Tristram Hunt to lead on

The reasons why we lost aren’t complicated. They’re simple.

We decided that the British public had shifted to the left because we wished it to be so.

I’m proud to be a member of a trade union. I passionately want a strong, modern trade union movement that can advance the interests of working people across the country.

But this election can’t be about who the general secretaries say impresses them most. Or who makes the Labour party feel comfortable. Or who’s the best known candidate in 2015.

Q: People will be sceptical about your call for defence spending to stay at 2% of GDP when you won’t say what cuts you would make.

Kendall says Labour has to hold the government to account, to ensure it keeps the promises it has given to its allies.

Q: Would you share a platform with David Cameron to campaign for membership of the EU?

Kendall says she wants Labour to make a strong, committed, early case for EU membership.

Q: What would be your ideal balance between tax rises and spending cuts for cutting the deficit?

Kendall says she made it clear early on that clearing the deficit is a priority. There is nothing progressive about wracking up debts for the next generation, she says.

Q: Will you definitely offer you rivals a shadow cabinet post?

Kendall says she is not going to get into the business of offering people jobs.

Q: Should the union leaders keep out of the leadership election?

Kendall says they are entitled to their views. But Labour needs to win over people who did not vote Labour and who voted Conservative.

Q: Would you back changes to the party rules to allow a leader to undergo re-election after three years or so?

Kendall says the Labour party should have confidence in its new leader.

Q: What do you think of the idea of having Alan Johnson as interim leader in place for more than four months?

Kendall says we have an interim leader, Harriet Harman. She will do a good job attacking the Tories. She says she backs the timetable for the leadership election.

Q: You are going to be labelled. What label would you choose?

Kendall says she is a modernising candidate who is true to Labour’s values.

Q: You said in your opening speech that we should stick to the 2% of GDP defence target. How would you pay for that?

Kendall says we are meeting this at the moment. The government has not said how it would stick to that target.

Q: Do you think the new leader should have to be confirmed again after three years or so?

Kendall says that is an interesting idea. MPs have to be reconfirmed by the Labour party. Leaders should have to show they are up to the job.

Q: What should Labour do about Ukip?

Kendall says Ukip got almost one in five votes in her constituency.

Q: Is it helpful being described as the Blairite candidate? Would you want Tony Blair to back you publicly?

Kendall says these labels belong to the past. She sidesteps the question about a Blair endorsement, but says he has a role to play.

Kendall says the problem the Labour’s proposed energy price freeze was that people did not believe it.

Q: Why did you not say this before the election?

Kendall says she has always argued for public sector reform. But she was loyal to Ed Miliband as leader.

Q: My mum is being cared for by low-paid women who all voted Conservative. They did not know much about politics. And they supported rightwing ideas. How would you address this?

Kendall says too many people who do work do not think Labour believes in hard work.

Q: Do you agree with Frank Field about breaking the link with the unions?

Kendall says she is strongly in favour of the link with the unions. Labour emerged from its links with working people. The party should use the leadership contest to reach out to union members who did not vote Labour.

Q: What would you be saying about immigration today?

Kendall says she believes in rules. People coming her illegally and breaking the rules is wrong.

Q: In 2020 you might be up against Boris Johnson or George Osborne? How would you respond to people who say that, against experienced people like that, you are too inexperienced. You have not even had a big shadow cabinet job?

Kendall says the important thing is who understands how the world is changing. People want hope. They do not believe politicians. And they don’t want the opposition just to criticise the government or to moan.

Kendall is now taking questions.

Q: Do you agree with Andy Burnham that Labour should make the Scottish party independent?

Kendall says Labour has done too little to challenge the diminution of Britain’s role in the world. It was paralysed by its past, she says.

Britain should take its international responsibilities seriously, she says.

Kendall says Labour also has to address the challenge of nationalism. She says she has asked Tristram Hunt to lead on his for her campaign.

But she says she is certain that Britain is better off united.

Liz Kendall opens with a joke. Labour lost many figures on 7 May. But many people think it lost its Balls long before then, she says.

She makes a joke about a spoof website being set up in her name, and jokes about the Labour leadership contest being “sabotaged” by Len McCluskey.

Rob Hutton, the Bloomberg political editor, is introducing Liz Kendall. He says after the election many journalists were impressed by her interview with Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics.

Liz Kendall, the Labour leadership contender, is about to hold a Q&A session with journalists over a snack lunch at the press gallery in the Commons. I’ve described it as a hustings because other candidates are also being invited to appear at a later date.

Kendall, the shadow care minister, is one of three candidates likely to make it to the final ballot. The others are Andy Burnham, the current favourite, and Yvette Cooper.

We have talked about

[Osborne] coming to Berlin so that we can think together about how we can combine the British position with the urgent need for a strengthened governance of the eurozone. Since 2010, we’ve been more successful at stabilising the eurozone than many critics expected. But the structure of this currency union will stay fragile as long as its governance isn’t substantially reinforced. Maybe there is a chance to combine both goals …

There is a big margin of manoeuvre. We have a huge interest in the UK remaining a strong and engaged member of the European Union.

Migration Watch UK has described today’s migration figures as “appalling”. This is from its chairman, Lord Green.

The latest figures are appalling. We need to stop and think where this mass immigration is leading. It points to a probable increase of three million in the UK population over the next five years in the face of very strong public opinion. Any further cuts in resources for immigration control would be absurd.

The Migration Rights Network says David Cameron’s plans to make illegal working an offence will “have the effect of locking more people into systems of modern slavery without hope of protection from the law”.

You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.

As for the rest of the papers, here is the PoliticsHome list of top 10 must-reads, and here is the ConservativeHome round-up of today’s political stories.

The prime minister wants to force the EU to acknowledge that the euro is not Europe’s “single currency” — and to write the change into the bloc’s treaties.

A confidential British negotiating document seen by The Times spells out one of the prime minister’s pivotal demands as he tries to reshape the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Few of the tax cuts pledged by Mr Cameron will do much to broaden the Conservative coalition. The promised inheritance tax cut will “disproportionately [benefit] those towards the top of the income distribution”, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies …

There’s also a big difference between certain benefit- cutting options. Limiting child benefit to families with two children or taxing disability benefit is at least morally defensible. Further cuts to the in-work credits paid to poor workers while giving inflation-beating increases to wealthy pensioners stinks.

Here’s a Guardian video with an extract from David Cameron’s speech.

And here is some more reaction to the migration figures, and David Cameron’s plans, from thinktanks and pressure groups

From Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future thinktank

The measures announced today may offer some reassurance to those who are worried about people working here illegally. But they are basically a distraction. Most of the people counted in today’s figures are working here legally or paying to study at our universities.

If the PM has a realistic plan to reduce net migration he should make that clear. Until then, a more sensible approach would admit that immigration is high because more people are here to work, and use the gains in tax revenue to help deal with the impact.

The mirage of chasing a net migration target will not work in this parliament, just as it did not work in the last. The UK is now in a steady state of net migration, which can be expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Cracking down on illegal immigration will have no impact on EU migration.

The way forward for the government is to move away from a fixation on overall numbers and instead place real emphasis on supporting communities affected by high levels of inward migration.

The Conservative government needs to move the debate on beyond their net migration ambition – which is proving arbitrary, unreliable and undeliverable. Instead, it needs to develop a strong record of competence on managing our immigration system. An important part of this is the creation of deliverable targets – such as an alternative target on non-EU gross migration – as well as asking new migrants to contribute a new class of national insurance to help fund public services and the establishment of the controlling migration fund, where local areas experiencing high levels of migration are given extra resources.

The Lib Dems have also criticised the government’s plans. This is from the Lib Dem peer Lord Paddick.

The Tories promised to cut net migration to tens of thousands but failed spectacularly. Instead of admitting their target was a stupid idea, they have pushed the ‘let’s sound tough on immigration’ button yet again.

Theresa May needs to get it into her head – not all immigration is bad. If she was serious about cracking down on illegal immigration she should concentrate on what works and not tar all immigrants with the same brush.

Natalie Bennett, the Green party leader, has condemned the government’s immigration policies as “morally reprehensible and politically inept”. She went on:

This government has spectacularly missed its migration targets not because of the minority of migrants who stay beyond their visas, but because those targets are arbitrary and illogical; this new legislation is a transparent attempt to shift the focus away from this failure. A promised ‘crackdown’ on illegal migrants risks forcing them into destitution but does nothing to address the real economic issues facing Britain.

Here is the full text of David Cameron’s immigration speech.

The Institute for Directors has strongly criticised David Cameron for reaffirming his commitment to get net migration down below 100,000. This is from Simon Walker, its director general.

The government must address public concerns over immigration with real solutions, but they must be equally clear about what the issues actually are. IoD members do not employ immigrants because they are cheaper, with fewer than 4 per cent saying cost has anything to do with it. Indeed, our members overwhelmingly pay even their most junior staff above the Living Wage. When they do employ people from outside the UK it is because they need the skills or value the different experience.

The IoD will never support the small number of rogue companies who employ illegal workers, or set out to exploit migrants by paying less than the minimum wage. This is criminal behaviour which is shunned by all responsible businesses.

Here’s Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, responding to David Cameron’s speech and the net migration figures. It’s a beefed-up version of what she said earlier on Twitter. (See 9.53am.)

David Cameron is taking people for fools. On the day he has promised yet again to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, these figures show it is over three times that target. Both EU and non-EU net migration are considerably higher than in June 2010, after five years of David Cameron and Theresa May’s broken promises. This massive gap between rhetoric and reality, between promise and delivery, just destroys trust in anything Ministers say on immigration.

While the Government have attempted to copy some of Labour’s plans on tackling exploitation or illegal immigration, no one will believe their plans for enforcement. They are still ignoring the problem of employers exploiting legal migration to undercut local wages and jobs – we need a new offence of exploitation to make the system fair for all.

Cameron concludes by thanking Home Office staff in the audience for their work, but telling them that the cuts due to take place will be “difficult”.

Cameron says in the last government he and Theresa May were keen on controlling immigration. But when they got to the department of business (headed by Vince Cable, a Liberal Democrat), they got a different response.

Q: What proof do you have that cutting migrants’ access to benefits will stop people coming? People are coming here to work, not to claim. You are operating on a wing and prayer.

Cameron says he does not accept that. Some 86,000 people are coming to the UK from the EU to look for a job, he says.

Q: Won’t net migration continue to rise while the economy grows?

Cameron says you could just give up and forget about it, but that is not his approach.

Cameron is now taking questions.

Q: Shouldn’t you abandon your target of getting net migration below 100,000 because you have missed it so badly?

Cameron says, as the training of British workers improves, Britain should be able to reduce the number of skilled workers from outside the EU.

He says the government will ask the migration advisory committee to advise on substantially lowering the target for skilled workers from outside the EU.

Cameron says he will chair an immigration task force.

David Cameron is giving his speech now.

He says that he witnessed an immigration raid this morning.

PM David Cameron talks about immigration raid by officials this morning – funny how these raids always seem to coincide with big news days

Politics can be confusing.

David Cameron is about to deliver his speech, at the Home Office.

Here is a live feed.

Here’s Steven Woolfe, Ukip’s immigration spokesman, on today’s immigration figures.

Today’s government announcement on illegal migration is a smoke screen to mask today’s appalling immigration statistics. In almost every area, net migration, overall UK immigration, EU immigration, non-EU immigration, sham marriages, bogus students, overstayers; the government has failed catastrophically.

It has never been clearer that the UK borders are open to all whenever, wherever and however they want to come. The government has lost all control. The ONS report that 285,000 people came to work in the UK work last year. That is a city the size of Nottingham, which has nearly a 100 schools, 60 GP surgeries and several hospitals. Britain needs to provide the equivalent just to keep up with the workers arriving and this illustrates clearly the strain mass migration is putting on our public services.

Here’s Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, on today’s migration figures.

Today’s figures show how difficult it would be to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

Net migration has risen even despite new restrictions on family, work and student visas that were introduced during the last parliament.

Here is some Twitter comment on the migration figures.

From the New Statesman’s George Eaton

What the Tories won’t be able to say: high immigration is a mark of economic success.

Immigration is a case study in vicious policy cycles: government promises something it doesn’t have the power to deliver, which in turn …

… makes it pursue harmful policies in a doomed effort to succeed. All the while public opinion gets ever more angry, which in turn …

… encourages the government to be even ‘tougher’. And so on and so on.

Good news for UK economy: good to see immigration (especially for work) increasing on most measures:

Net migration is a daft figure to focus on – people don’t notice emigration. The overall number coming in, at 641k, is now at all time high

Tho as is traditional every quarter I shld point out that 200k of the total is students. Public don’t consider students as immigrants

One stat is central to the current politics of imm: Between 1970 & 1995, imm inflows never above 320k. Since 2001, never below 500k

So the average number of people settling each & every year is now twice what it was a generation ago. That is a huge change.

Total arrivals from the EU have now increased by more than 100k, from 150k in 2012 to 250k now – most of rise is “Old” EU 15 plus Rom/Bul

By contrast, migration from the “Accession 8” – Poland, Lithuania etc – is stable and well below peak levels in mid 2000s

Number of imms coming from “old” EU15 is now triple what it was in 2005 – Euro crisis may be driving this new migration flow?

Nearly all the rise in imm over the past couple of yrs is people coming to work – the political division is over whether this is good or bad

@robfordmancs where it is in low-paid, low productivity, high in-work benefits jobs, it is clearly a bad thing. Hence need for points system

@robfordmancs An improving economy says good. New jobs created says good. That’s two goods in my book!

Last two RT’s nicely illustrate two sides of the immigration in the labour market debate.

Net migration now as high as it was under Horrid New Labour.

The Telegraph’s Ben Riley-Smith has thrown some other city comparators into the mix.

318k net migration stat in context 1 x Coventry 1.5 x Stoke 2.5 x Cambridge 4 x Durham [Approx]

Journalists are competing to find cities with a population roughly as high as 318,000 – the net migration figure for 2014.

My Welsh colleague @benglaze says the net migration figure of 318,000 is equivalent to the population of Cardiff

ONS says 318,000 more people entered the UK than left in 2014 – equivalent to the population of Coventry. #netmigration

Here is some political reaction.

From the Ukip MP Douglas Carswell

Ministers cannot control immigration. Yet these supposed “One Nation” leaders introduce rules to persecute a handful of illegal workers. Mad

There you go, net migration up again, now 318,000 – just below the all-time high of 2005. I am sure this Govt will soon break that record.

Theresa May floundering on net migration promise on @BBCr4today. Massive gap between Gov rhetoric & reality undermines trust in whole system

Here is some snap comment on the figures.

From the Guardian’s Alan Travis

Significant rises in both non-Eu (up 42,000) and Eu (up 67,000) net migration undermining claim that EU is problem – ONS

Highest net migration figure was 320,000 a decade ago. After dips which coincided with global economic doldrums, we’re back at the heights.

The migration figures are out.

Net migration to Britain surges to 318,000 in 2014 – 109,000 higher than 2013 and just below all time peak in 2005 =ONS

Here are more details of David Cameron’s plans. According to the briefing note from Number 10, the immigration bill will include these seven proposals.

The new criminal offence of illegal working will apply to migrants who have entered the country illegally and also those who came to the country legally but are in breach of their conditions or have overstayed. It will deprive illegal migrants of their wages which will make it harder for them to stay in the UK.

At the moment, migrants with current leave to remain who are working illegally in breach of their conditions may be prosecuted under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 and be liable on summary conviction to a 6 months’ custodial sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

Here’s a statement from David Hanson, the shadow immigration minister, on the Cameron plans.

A lot of this will look very familiar to anyone who read Labour’s manifesto.

After five years of opposing action to tackle exploitation, which can affect wages and act as a driver for low-skilled labour, the prime minister is now offering policies he said were unnecessary, such as banning agencies from only recruiting from abroad.

Next week’s Queen’s Speech will include what Downing Street is describing as a “far-reaching” immigration bill. David Cameron is giving a speech about it this morning, but much of what he is going to say has been briefed overnight. Here is Patrick Wintour’s preview story, and here is how it starts.

David Cameron will try to brush off embarrassing net migration figures on Thursday by announcing details of a new immigration bill to be included in the Queen’s speech, which will propose a new criminal offence of illegal working that will allow police to seize the wages of anyone employed unlawfully.

It has been estimated that the backlog of people in Britain who have overstayed their visas and whose whereabouts are unknown is around 300,000, but it is not known how many are working. Cameron managed to survive the general election even though he once urged voters to kick him out if he failed to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands.

Access to justice is virtually impossible. How do you communicate with your lawyer? How do you gather evidence for your appeal? How do you represent yourself at your appeal?

It makes a very real practical difference, if I may say so, in terms of acting as a deterrent for people who are trying to be here illegally. This isn’t about revenue raising. It is about making it harder for people to be here illegally and it is about setting a very clear deterrent for people who want to stay here illegally.

Continue reading…