Not tackling immigration 'could lead to resurgence of UKIP', warns Tory MP and former UKIP deputy leader

2 November 2022, 18:54

The Tories need to get a grip on immigration, an MP has wanred
The Tories need to get a grip on immigration, an MP has wanred. Picture: Getty/LBC

By Kit Heren

A far-right party like UKIP could rise up again in the UK if the Conservatives do not tackle the issue of immigration, a Conservative MP and former UKIP deputy leader has said.

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Craig Mackinlay, the MP for South Thanet, near the Manston migrant camp where tens of thousands of people are being held for too long in overcrowded, disease-ridden conditions, said the migration issue was "a weak point" that his former party or a similar organisation "can exploit".

Mr Mackinlay added that the re-emergence of UKIP, the party where he was second in charge from 1997-2000, could mean the Conservatives lose "quite a number of seats" across the UK.

Read more: Andrew Marr: 'immigration isn't going away - and if politicians don't discuss it, extremists will'

Read more: 'Show us some respect:' Albania's PM blasts Braverman for 'blaming' his countrymen for Britain's migrant crisis

Shelagh Fogarty responds to Brits 'failing' to welcome migration

The number of people making the perilous small boats crossing via the English Channel has skyrocketed in recent years.

Some 50,000 migrants are likely to come to the UK on small boat crossings this year alone, with October and November busy months, up from just a few hundred in 2018.

Local councils in Kent have warned that services are at "breaking point" in the area, in an open letter sent to the government.

Campaigners holding a vigil for migrants in Manston on Wednesday
Campaigners holding a vigil for migrants in Manston on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr on Wednesday, Mr Mackinlay said: ‘The worry would have to be that if we don't get this right, there could be an emergence once more of a UKIP style party, whether that's one or many waiting in the wings.

"And I don't need to tell you that Andrew, that if we were to lose 5% to a resurgent right of centre party that could mean quite a number of seats across the country."

"They won't be able to solve it any better than we could, I can promise you that. But if this is an issue that remains unsolved, it’s a weak point that they can exploit."

Albanian journalist says migrants should be offered the right to work.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been criticised for the horrible conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent – where reports of overcrowding and migrants feeling like the facility is more akin to a "prison" have emerged.

She previously caused a stir by saying it was her dream to deport migrants to Rwanda, where they could then claim asylum but not be allowed into the UK.

But Mr Mackinlay said he supported Ms Braverman on her stance on immigration and backed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's ten-point plan on immigration - currently under review, like all his campaign pledges.

Migrants at the Manston immigration centre in Kent
Migrants at the Manston immigration centre in Kent. Picture: Getty

Asked by Andrew about the pledges, Mr Mackinlay said: "I'd like him to stand by those very, very tough promises that he was making in the summer.

"They're common-sense policies and I'm hoping that with his appointment of Suella Braverman, who is tough on these things, she has my full support on these matters.

"Rishi has appointed her; I'm assuming and hoping that he will be using her to put these through Parliament and to put these into action."