Chris Bryant’s previous:
LABOUR’s immigration spokesman yesterday dismissed claims that Britain was overcrowded.
Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant claimed the aid Governmentattempts to curb the number of foreigners moving here were “ludicrous”.
His comments are at odds with official projections that show the country’s population will surge from 62.3 million last year to 70 million by 2027.
Two-thirds of the rise will result from immigration with the rest due to rising birth rates and increased life expectancy.
The latest immigration statistics also show that half a million immigrants arrived in Britain last year – more than 1,300 a day.
Speaking during a debate on immigration at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, Mr Bryant said: “There is another argument which people worry about and it is that this country is too full.
It is astonishing that a shadow minister of immigration should have so little grasp of the facts
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think-tank MigrationWatch UK
“I don’t subscribe to that view, I find that an odd argument. It is certainly true that Britain has an economy that is far too dependent on London and the South-east and I would like us to change that.”
He agreed that Labour had got “some things wrong” about immigration in the past but hit out at the Coalition’s attempts to tackle the issue.
He said: “There are some silly things they have done, they have set themselves a ludicrous net-migration target and they have done some silly things around university’s and so on.”
The Government has argued that Labour’s previous open-door policy on immigration has forced it to crackdown on numbers arriving in the country.
David Cameron has vowed to cut net-migration – the number of those arriving minus the number of those leaving
– to the tens of thousands by the end of this parliament.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think-tank MigrationWatch UK, said: “It is astonishing that a shadow minister of immigration should have so little grasp of the facts.
“Labour’s failure to address the immigration issue is the reason that 3.5 million immigrants arrived on their watch. It seems that they have learned nothing.”
MigrationWatch says net immigration needs to fall from its current level of 216,000 to around 40,000 a year to stop the population reaching 70 million.
Nearly 80 per cent of people in England think the country is overcrowded, a survey found earlier this year.