Boris Johnson tells ministers to 'come clean' over immigration

Clegg is a 'great big vacillating jelly of indecision' over immigration, says London mayor

LAST UPDATED AT 11:43 ON Thu 21 Feb 2013

LONDON mayor Boris Johnson has called on ministers to reveal how many Bulgarians and Romanians are expected to move to Britain when border restrictions are lifted next year.

Fears have been raised about a potential influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe putting pressure on public services.

Ministers have repeatedly denied making forecasts on how many immigrants are expected to come to the UK, but deputy prime minister Nick Clegg yesterday admitted that he had seen predictions.

Clegg said on LBC Radio: "The Government is not going to pretend that we have scientific figures. We've seen estimates, but they are estimates."

When asked to reveal them, he said the figures were too broad. "I don't think it helps public confidence in the immigration system."

But Boris Johnson, campaigning with Maria Hutchings, the Tory candidate in the Eastleigh by-election, said any estimates should be released if they exist. He described Clegg as a "great big vacillating jelly of indecision" over immigration, adding that he "needs to discover some spine on this issue".

Clegg's spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that the deputy PM had seen only non-government estimates. "He was referring to the fact that there are estimates around, for example from MigrationWatch, which he has seen but which he does not think are robust," he said.

MigrationWatch claims that 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians a year will arrive in Britain until 2019 once they gain the right to live and work unrestricted under European Union freedom of movement rules. · 

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