Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised in the media for the use of students in official immigration statistics. According to sources, many of her ministers disagree with her position and she is becoming increasingly isolated in her view. So far Prime Minister Theresa May has stood firm in her belief that students should be counted as part of official immigration statistics. It is believed that she has held these opinions ever since she was Home Secretary, her last role before becoming Prime Minister in the wake of David Cameron's resignation.
It now seems that the Prime Minister faces defeat on the immigration issue. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has warned Prime Minister May that she would lose a vote on the issue when the new Immigration Bill goes before MP's. It seems that the Conservatives slim majority is going to haunt them. They face many such embarrassing defeats throughout the life of this parliament due to their diminished majority. Mrs May, like her predecessor Cameron, took a gamble that also backfired and called a General Election in 2017. Seeing an increase in poll ratings, May tried to capitalise. The move spectacularly backfired as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made significant gains.
Speaking on the subject, Mrs May's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing "The position of the Prime Minister on this is clear. The international definition of an immigrant is someone who arrives for a period of more than 12 months." Despite significant opposition from many Cabinet ministers, Mrs May herself went on record to say "This is the position of the Government."
Ever since she was Home Secretary, Prime Minister May has tried to reduce immigration. She has been very tough on student immigration and has herself backed the Conservative promise to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands." This manifesto promise has been missed on several different occasions and it is remarkable that they still try to dust it off at every election. Whatever she believes on the subject herself, it appears that even her own Cabinet do not support her position. In an ever-increasing hole, the Prime Minister appears, more than ever, to be happy to carry on digging.
In the past, students have not always been counted as part of official immigration statistics, but Mrs May is heavily opposed to immigration and has tried in vain to enact powers against immigration. With her own position hanging by a thread, it is likely that in the near future, the Conservatives will vote for a leader who is more liberal on the subject.
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