Soaring migration 'not a betrayal of Brexit', Michael Gove tells LBC, as he insists Govt will drive down numbers

27 November 2023, 07:23 | Updated: 27 November 2023, 08:10

Michael Gove has insisted soaring migration does not represent a betrayal of Brexit
Michael Gove has insisted soaring migration does not represent a betrayal of Brexit. Picture: Getty/Alamy/ONS
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Soaring migration is not a betrayal of Brexit and the Government will drive down the numbers, Michael Gove has told LBC.

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The Levelling Up Secretary insisted that “we do need to bring numbers down” but tried to say that until we left, it was impossible to do.

Speaking days after the ONS upgraded net migration numbers for 2022 up 130,000 to 745,000 last year, Mr Gove said that “now we have the opportunity to decide, as the prime minister did earlier this year, to change the migration rules.”

The PM and Home Secretary are working on further measures to drive down the numbers of people coming to the UK after Tories reacted with fury to the latest figures last week.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson campaigning for Brexit in 2016
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson campaigning for Brexit in 2016. Picture: Alamy

Michael Gove is unable to say when the Rwanda plan will go ahead

Mr Gove told LBC that refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong had also inflated the figures and “we have a proud tradition of providing shelter and support for those who are refugees.”

He added: “The Prime Minister has promised he is going to look at this. The home secretary is going to look at this.

“I can’t pre-empt the Home Secretary.”

Read More: Rwanda plan is not the 'be all and end all' to stop illegal migration, says James Cleverly

Read More: Suella Braverman leads Tory revolt as pressure grows on Rishi Sunak amid record immigration figures

But he stressed: “I do believe that we will do everything we can in order to make sure not just that the Rwanda deal works,  but also that the whole suite of policies that we have in order to control our borders, and make sure we deal with illegal migration are in place.”

Net migration has soared post-Brexit, ONS data shows
Net migration has soared post-Brexit, ONS data shows. Picture: ONS

Mr Gove also told LBC that there are more tax cuts to come after last week’s Autumn Statement.

He said: “The Chancellor and the Prime Minister made clear that we do want to lower taxes even further, but it is absolutely vital that we maintain overall, an approach towards the economy and towards the public finances, that ensures we don’t have to borrow for tax cuts.

“He has already shown that he has a clear, tax cutting drive and a focus on economic stability overall, and I trust Jeremy’s judgement.”

Mr Gove also dodged questions on whether there could be an earlier election that the autumn poll that many have predicted.

He said: “The prime minister will decide when the election is, whenever it is, I know that we will be ready.”

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