Boris Johnson attacks David Cameron over immigration pledge

Posted On: 
11th May 2016

Boris Johnson stepped up his war of words with David Cameron today by mocking the Prime Minister's failure to hit his immigration target.

Boris Johnson has an ice cream in Charlestown, Cornwall, during a Vote Leave campaign visit.
PA Images

The former London Mayor said his Conservative colleague had been wrong to pledge net migration down to the "tens of thousands".

He spoke out as he tried to drum up support for Brexit during a battle bus tour of the south-west.

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Mr Johnson, a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign, said the current level of immigration into Britain is “too high” and it could only be brought under control if the UK left the European Union.

He said: "To add a city the size of Newcastle every year, we've seen nothing like it for 80 years or so. Let me put it this way, it's too high to do without consent. That is the issue."

Asked what the level of immigration should be, Mr Johnson said: "I wouldn't want to get into the game of setting a number.

“What you certainly shouldn't do is promise to cut it to the tens of thousands and then it turn out that you've got hundreds of thousands.

"I'd have a system that you judge each case by its merits and you control it. We don't have that.

“(After Brexit) we're not going to have uncontrolled immigration, we're not going to get into the situation of how many and by when - that depends on the system you bring in. What you don't have is increases of the scale that we've seen in the past few years."

He added: "I think when you have control, there should be ways of saying if you don't have the job offer, if you don't have the right qualifications, just as you can be turned away from the United States or Australia, you could be turned away from the United Kingdom.

“That would be totally reasonable.”


Mr Johnson also said he would be prepared to debate Gordon Brown, who backs staying in the EU, after the former Prime Minister said he was willing for the pair to go head-to-head before the 23 June referendum.

"If they point me I'll march. I'll do whatever is necessary. Let's see what they want to do. I'm up for anything,” he said.