Net migration to Britain surges in blow to PM Cameron before election

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 27, 2014 5:54 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a blow to his re-election campaign on Thursday after his pledge to cut migration to the tens of thousands was undercut by new data showing a net 260,000 people moved to Britain in the year to June.

The data, which showed net migration was up more than 40 percent on the previous 12 months, is awkward for Cameron who is under pressure from the rise in popularity of the UK Independence Party, which wants to strongly curb the number of people coming to Britain.

Immigration has shot to the top of voter concerns before a 2015 national election and Cameron has promised to reduce net migration to "tens of thousands" before the May vote, a pledge a senior minister in his Conservative party last week said the government was now unlikely to meet.

The British leader is due to set out before Christmas new plans to limit EU migration, which Thursday's figures showed rose by 45,000 on the previous year.

"Where you have uncontrolled migration, where migration is at very high levels, it has those impacts on public services, on housing, on hospitals," Immigration Minister James Brokenshire told the BBC. "So it is absolutely right that we continue to focus on this issue."

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)