Theresa May Defends Controversial Immigration Speech

6 October 2015, 16:59 | Updated: 25 August 2016, 12:16

Watch the very sparky exchange between Theresa May and Iain Dale after the Home Secretary's speech at the Tory Conference today, branded "appalling" by some.

Focusing on immigration, May's speech was judged by some commentators to be an "ugly" play for the right of the Conservatives and part of her bid to become leader of the party.

Iain asked the Home Secretary a tough question right as the interview began, asking: "With this speech, haven't you demonstrated exactly why many people still think the Tories are the nasty party? Some of your biggest fans...are quite appalled by this speech?"

May defended her address to the conference: "The reason we want to control immigration is because of the impact that high, uncontrolled immigration has on people, particularly on the lower end of the income scale.

"It can drive wages down, it can see people no longer able to get work...As a party, we have consistently said we want to bring control into our immigration system and that's what I was talking about."

During the speech, May claimed the net economic benefit of immigration was "close to zero" - a statement that Iain then pressed her on repeatedly. 

"Overall, over the years, immigration to the United Kingdom has been a benefit," admitted May, one of the favourites to replace David Cameron when he steps down as leader.

"You didn't actually say that in the speech, did you?" said Iain, "I thought that was something that was maybe lacking."

Watch her deal with Iain's tough questions above.