National politics

Hectoring Clegg wrong on immigration

I was pretty certain last night when Nick Clegg was challenging David Cameron to confirm or deny his “80% of immigrants come from the EU” claim that Clegg was talking nonsense. Apparently it is more like 40%. Clegg was using some Economist numbers that talk about foreign born workers.

So get this, Clegg was beating up Cameron with the stat that the vast majority of foreign born workers are from the EU whilst the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. In other words too many non-EU immigrants aren’t working. Clegg was unwittingly underlining what many people fear; we are encouraging too many people to come here and enjoy our benefits system, often at the cost of the poorest people in our society.

Figures here.

4 replies on “Hectoring Clegg wrong on immigration”

we are encouraging too many people to come here and enjoy our benefits system, often at the cost of the poorest people in our society.

Immigrants come here to work – usually to do the jobs that British people won’t or can’t do. How many of your traffic wardens were born in Britain?



Of course most immigrants of all kinds come here to work and make a better life for themselves. EU people are entitled to do this as a part of free movement in the EU. Many people from outside the EU are simply not and come here illegally – the LSE mid-range estimate for illegal immigration is 725,000, ie the population of a city somewhere between Coventry and Leicester in size.

The whole point of Bigotgate was that the political classes are avoiding being direct about the issue of immigration and the undoubted burdens it places on the welfare state thus leaving space for the likes of the BNP. I have to say that immigration is a huge issue for people on the doorstep and it should not be shushed out of the debate.

Check the numbers again. If 80% of foreign workers are from the EU but only 40% of immigrants are from the EU it means that disproportionate numbers of non-EU immigrants aren’t working for whatever reason. Often that will not be their fault, for instance asylum seekers are not allowed to work. But, that level of economic inactivity is simply unaffordable.


Hi Phil
All these numbers just confuse me. Ealing has about 300,000 people in it. Looking at illegal immigrants, how many times the population of Ealing is that? I make it two and a half times the population of Ealing. I think that is right.


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