Net migration figures into the UK are reportedly set to reach a record high of up to one million with the Conservative party bracing for criticism over the issue.
Official figures are expected to be released later in May, with net migration expected to be 650,000 to 997,000 – far higher than the previous record of 504,000 in the year to June 2022.
Energy security secretary Grant Shapps insisted arrivals from Ukraine and Hong Kong had upped the total by some 300,000.
Shapps told Sky News: “This country has had a big heart, we’ve opened the country for Ukrainian refugees, for British nationals from Hong Kong. Take those two groups alone and it’s well over 300,000 of these numbers.”
Shapps insisted that the UK has gained “control” over immigration thanks to Brexit.
While Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made one of his key priorities to ‘stop the boats’, Shapps said he did not believe Sunak had “ever put a figure on” by how much he would like to see migration fall.
But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the reported expectations showed the government has “completely lost control” of the issue.
“Like almost everything else under this government, there’s no plan, there’s no control and, just like everything else, it seems like the system is broken,” he said.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) figures are due to be published on May 25.
Net migration set for record high as Tories brace for backlash