British Prime Minister Theresa
May speaking during Prime Ministers Questions at the House of Commons in
London, July 20, 2016. (AFP photo)
has pledged to bring down the country’s net migration levels as it
prepares to leave the European Union (EU).
first Prime Minister’s Question session at the House of Commons, May
said she was committed to reduce the overall number of immigrant entries
to the UK as one of the main pledges of the Brexit option.
52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum on
June 23, in hopes of taking back control over their borders and having
more economic freedom.
“People want control of free movement from
the EU and that is precisely what we will be doing,” the premier said,
days after replacing David Cameron as the new leader of the ruling
“I also remain firm in my belief that we need
to bring net migration down to sustainable levels, the Government
believes that it tens of thousands, it will take some time to get there,
but now we have the added aspect of controls we can bring in relation
to people moving from the EU,” she added.
According to quarterly
figures from the Office for National Statistics, published in late May,
some 630,000 people came to Britain in 2015 while only 297,000 left the
While the total migrants entering the UK showed a slight
drop of 2,000, the number of those who left the country was 22,000 less
than last year, leading to a net migration of 333,000.
reaffirmation of her promise came only a day after her newly-appointed
Foreign Minister Boris Johnson drew criticism by refusing to set target
numbers for the upcoming cuts.
It is “entirely right to be careful
about committing to numbers because one doesn’t want to be in a
position where you are disappointing people again,” the former London
mayor told a press conference on Tuesday.
UK Home Secretary Amber
Rudd also failed to define any clear targets, only saying London wanted
to cut the figure to “sustainable levels.”
May said Wednesday that
leaving the EU facilitates the cuts and she is committed to the
Conservative manifesto pledge to reduce the number to the tens of
thousands by 2020.