Prime minister David Cameron has called for “sensible and calm language” when it comes to discussing UK immigration.
Mr Cameron's comments have been prompted by remarks made by two Labour home secretaries, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
Mr Straw recently commented on his own party's approach to immigration, stating that the Labour policies were part of “well-intentioned policy we messed up”. Meanwhile, Mr Blunkett argued that by “burying their heads in the sand” the coalition government was risking riots breaking out over immigration issues. The latter's comments come as official figures this week revealed that the number of Bulgarians and Romanians coming to work in Britain has risen by 19 per cent over the course of the past year.
The prime minister criticised Mr Blunkett's comments, stating: “What's required with immigration is consistent and tough and robust language, but measured and sensible and calm language. Some from the last government, we had the language but not the action. That's completely the wrong way round.”
The comments were made during Mr Cameron's trip to Delhi, India. The trip itself is expected to be dogged with controversy over the coalition's attempts to tighten up UK visa control. He has already been forced to deny that Britain has “closed its borders to Indians” in a newspaper interview in the country. The prime minister added that he brought a “positive message” to Delhi, noting that all Indian students, businessmen and visitors are welcome in Britain.
Reports from the Guardian stated that Mr Cameron had a similar message for British media: “I remain committed tough action on immigration. I don't think it should any way impede our Indian relations.”