Tories to Abandon Hardline Immigration Policy

Article excerpt

The Conservatives are preparing to ditch hardline policies on immigration that brought condemnation during the last general election campaign.

Damian Green, the shadow Immigration minister, will signal a break with the party's aggressive stance on immigration, praising the impact of migrants on British society and pledging to create a "civilised" policy.

Hugely contentious proposals to renegotiate the 1951 Geneva convention and set annual quotas for refugees are likely to be abandoned under a review of the party's policies. Plans to process asylum applications overseas are also likely to be ditched.

The party will launch a major consultation exercise next week with Britain's ethnic minority communities aimed at drawing up a new "firm and fair" immigration policy. Mr Green said: "We welcome immigration, as long as it is intelligently controlled. It has enriched British society and widened the horizons of the whole British people to the rest of the world. It brings economic benefits and cultural diversity. We also believe that proper control of immigration is essential, both to see good race and community relations and for the proper provision of public services."

Mr Green will meet Muslim leaders in Coventry on Monday with meetings planned for London, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities in the autumn.

He added: "We aim to develop a firm and fair immigration policy which has the confidence of all sections of the community. Many minorities in this country have a particular interest in how immigration policy works, or as at present, does not work, so we are asking for their views. …