'We mustn't forget how to do things for ourselves': Braverman to increase pressure on Sunak to cut net migration

15 May 2023, 06:45

Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak
Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Suella Braverman will argue that there is "no good reason" the UK cannot train its own workforce of lorry drivers and fruit pickers, in a speech increases pressure on Rishi Sunak to cut net migration.

The Home Secretary will be among the star turns at the National Conservatism Conference later on Monday, which comes only days after a similar gathering of Tory MPs and grassroots members in Bournemouth.

Her speech, which will be seen as a warning to Cabinet colleagues against relaxing immigration visa rules in a bid to boost growth, comes as Mr Sunak grapples with signs of discontent and division with his party's ranks.

Ms Braverman will say: "I voted and campaigned for Brexit because I wanted Britain to control migration. So that we all have a say on what works for our country.

"High-skilled workers support economic growth. Fact.

"But we need to get overall immigration numbers down. And we mustn't forget how to do things for ourselves.

"There is no good reason why we can't train up enough HGV drivers, butchers or fruit pickers. Brexit enables us to build a high-skilled, high wage economy that is less dependent on low-skilled foreign labour.

"That was our 2019 manifesto pledge and what we must deliver."

Suella Braverman will speak at the National Conservatism Conference on Monday
Suella Braverman will speak at the National Conservatism Conference on Monday. Picture: Getty

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It comes amid speculation of a split in Mr Sunak's Cabinet on immigration, with some members - including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt - arguing in favour of economic migration.

Meanwhile, The Times reported that Education Secretary Gillian Keegan recently blocked proposals - backed by the Home Secretary - that would have reduced the time foreign students can remain here after finishing a course.

Official figures are set to be released later, which are expected to show net migration of between 650,000 and 997,000.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, outspoken Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson, Johnson loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost, will also be attending the three-day National Conservatism Conference.

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