Immigration speech: PM right to put Tories first
The Mole: Cameron highlights coalition divide once again - this time on immigration
Proof - if proof were needed - that you can't make a big political speech about immigration without opening a can of worms comes today with news that Vince Cable has already labelled David Cameron's speech today as "very unwise".
The Prime Minister was due to say that, under Labour, Britain allowed immigration levels to get out of control and that he plans to take the annual influx back to 1980s levels, cutting net immigration from hundreds of thousands a year to tens of thousands.
He warns that immigrants unable to speak English or unwilling to integrate have created a "kind of discomfort and disjointedness" which has disrupted British communities.
In short, Cameron is going for it. He's taking on one of the most contentious political issues and it is, of course, no coincidence that it's only three weeks to go today before the May 5 local elections at which the Tories need all the help they can get - though not as much as the Lib Dems.
Which brings us to Vince Cable. Few issues mark the divide between the coalition partners as clearly as immigration and the Lib Dem Business Secretary told the BBC this morning not only that Cameron's speech "risked inflaming extremism" but that a 'new deal' on immigration was never part of the coalition agreement.
Cable is sticking to the Lib Dem line that "much of the remaining immigration from outside the European Union is crucial to British recovery and growth".
Nick Clegg is reported to have "noted rather than approved" Cameron's big speech.
Tory activists - to whom Cameron was addressing his speech in Hampshire - will doubtless "approve" wholeheartedly. Today, Cameron is putting their interests ahead of those of his coalition partners. ·
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