General Article They got Brexit done. So why are UK Tories still angry about immigration?

Topic Selected: Expat or Immigrant? Book Volume: 429

Rising immigration feeds into a sense of ‘betrayal’ among Brexiteer voters.

By Esther Webber

There’s a terrible habit the U.K. Conservatives can’t kick. It keeps coming back to bite them – and this week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak might become the latest victim.

David Cameron began the trend with his fateful vow at the 2010 election to cut net migration to below 100,000 people a year. Every subsequent Conservative prime minister has made their own version of his failed pledge. None has come close to achieving what they promised.

Brexit was meant to resolve the issue, ending the free movement of people from Europe and handing back control of U.K. borders to the government. Yet more than three years after Britain left the EU, the numbers are only going higher.

New figures published Thursday show migration added 606,000 people to the U.K.’s population in 2022 – the highest number on record.

While some Tory voices suggest it’s time to move on from the fixation on absolute numbers, others...

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