Boris Johnson has ditched Theresa May’s “tens of thousands” target for immigration and will introduce an “Australian-style points system”.
The new Prime Minister has begun clearing out his predecessor’s policies by getting rid of a pledge to cut net migration to the tens of thousands which has been the cornerstone of successive Conservative governments.
In a statement to the House of Commons he said: “No-one believes more strongly than me in the benefits of migration to our country.
“But I am clear that our immigration system must change. For years, politicians have promised the public an Australian-style points-based system.
“And today I will actually deliver on those promises – I will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a review of that system as the first step in a radical rewriting of our immigration system.
“I am convinced that we can produce a system that the British public can have confidence in.”
A spokesperson for Mr Johnson later made clear that the target would be ditched.
Asked whether the new PM’s words meant the target of reducing net migration to below 100,000 a year would no longer be government policy, the spokesperson said: “He was asked this during the campaign and he said he wasn’t going to be playing a numbers game.
“His view is that we need to introduce an Australian-style points system that allows us to take back control of our borders.”
The spokesperson said the British public had been promised such a system for a number of years, with Mr Johnson now “determined to deliver it”.
Pushed on the target, he added: “His focus is on getting in place an Australian-style points-based system.”
The target, first introduced by David Cameron when he entered Downing Street in 2010, has been repeatedly missed.
Despite that, it was repeated in the Tory manifestos at the 2015 and 2017 elections, but Sajid Javid – now Mr Johnson’s Chancellor – confirmed he wanted to see it scrapped post-Brexit.