James Cleverly has been met with laughter after describing the Conservative government as “great” as it wrestles with growing migration.
It came as the home secretary unveiled a five-point plan to bring down the number of immigrants coming to the UK by 300,000 a year.
One of the proposals is to scrap the shortage occupation list, which allows some companies to hire overseas workers for 20% less than the going rate.
It has echoes of an idea put forward by Keir Starmer last week, who said he would “scrap” what he called a “perverse wage cutting policy”.
In the Commons, Cleverly appeared to mock Labour’s “great idea”.
He told MPs: “We have put forward the most substantial package of legal migration reforms the country has ever seen and their great idea is already being put in place by this great government.”
But the suggestion the government was “great” was greeted with laughter from the Opposition benches, as the video below shows.
Tory MP James Cleverly: “I said Labour had a plan for migration. We have put forward the most substantial package of legal migration reforms the country has ever seen. Their great idea is already being put in place by this great government”
*The Commons erupts in laughter* pic.twitter.com/oTYYeUyytm
— David (@Zero_4) December 4, 2023
New figures revealed two weeks ago that 672,000 more people entered the UK than left it in the 12 months to June.
The Tories’ 2019 general election manifesto pledged to bring the figure down to less than 229,000.
Cleverly said he was increasing the minimum salary threshold for foreign workers from £26,200 to £38,700, although it will not apply to those coming to work in health and social care.
The minimum income requirement for anyone wanting to move foreign family members with them will also more than double to £38,700.
Overseas care workers will also be banned from bringing dependents with them to the UK.
The immigration health surcharge, paid by foreigners who use the NHS, will also be increased from £624 to £1,035, while the graduate visa route will also be reviewed amid concerns it is currently being abused.