Michael Gove claims migration will fall to 'tens of thousands' after Brexit
Michael Gove has claimed that leaving the European Union will mean that migration will eventually come down to the 'tens of thousands' the Government has set its sights on.
Boris Johnson also said he would like the figure to come down and that it was up to the Remain campaign to set out how that could be achieved while in the EU.
David Cameron has repeatedly stated that his ambition is to bring net migration down to below 100,000, although the latest statistics for 2015 showed the total number was over 330,000.
Leave campaigners have argued that the only way to bring the number of immigrants down is to leave the EU with its free movement between member states.
This morning the Justice Secretary said that would in time mean that immigration could come down to where Mr Cameron had said it should be, although he would not put a date on when that might be.
"We wouldn't have left the EU by the end of this parliament but we would in due course bring it down to tens of thousands, yes. I wouldn't set a time limit for it but the ambition would be to bring it down to tens of thousands," he told ITV's Peston programme.
He rejected the idea that lowering the number of people coming here from abroad would weaken the British economy.
"I absolutely don't think so, because at the moment uncontrolled numbers coming in here not only depress wages for working people, it's also the case that they put a considerable strain on public services, on housing, on the NHS and of course on school places and we grew very successfully in the 1980s and the 1990s with migration in the tens of thousands."
On the Andrew Marr Show, former London mayor Mr Johnson said the Government was unable legally to achieve the ambition of bringing net migration down.
"I would like a situation where the Government was able to fulfil its pledges to the people and if it is going to say that net immigration from the EU is going to come down to the tens of thousands then it should be in a legal position to deliver that.
Asked whether he wanted to reduce migration to the tens of thousands too, he replied:
"The answer is yes, I'll tell you why - I think that if you look at the figures last week we had a net increase of 333,000 all told, 270,000 form the EU, 184,000 net - a city the size of Oxford from the EU. Now, the question the Remain campaign have to answer is what is their long-term vision, what is their programme for the country if the numbers continue at this rate, because at the moment if we grow the size of a city like Newcastle every year, we will see our population rise inexorably to about 70m or perhaps 80m."