New Conservatives: Doncaster MP joins right wing pressure group to press Rishi Sunak over immigration

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Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher is one of a group of rebel right wing Conservative MPs who have created a new faction of the party to put pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over immigration.

The Don Valley MP is a leading light in the New Conservatives, a group of Red Wall Tory MPs who want the PM to do more tackle immigration.

Mr Fletcher, who has repeatedly come under criticism for his ‘we are full’ rants, was part of the group who launched a report calling on the government to dramatically reduce migration.

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They want to see net migration fall from 606,000 to 240,000 before the end of 2024, which the report argues could be achieved by measures including slashing temporary care worker visas and limiting student visas.

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher is part of the New Conservatives group.Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher is part of the New Conservatives group.
Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher is part of the New Conservatives group.

In the report’s foreword, itsaid “it’s time for us to honour that promise” to reduce migration levels which was made in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto.

It comes after figures published in May showed that net migration hit a record high in the year to December 2022 at 606,000, up from 488,000 in 2021.

First launched in May, the New Conservatives group aims to shape the party’s policies ahead of the next election and align them with the interests of voters in the Midlands and “Red Wall” seats across Yorkshire and the North.

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The group has no official leader, but Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates and Devizes MP Danny Kruger – both elected in 2019 – are said to be the principal organisers behind the new initiative.

Its members include Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, former minister and Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis, Rother Valley MP Alex Stafford, Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton and Ipswich MP Tom Hunt – all elected in 2019.

The New Conservatives have issued a 12-point plan to cut net migration by about 400,000 before the next election.

The group of MPs recommend closing visa schemes for care workers, increasing salary thresholds, and capping refugee numbers.

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But critics say the proposals would have consequences for the UK economy.

In the report, the New Conservatives say the British public "did not vote for mass migration and the social and economic harms it brings".

"Without swift action to get migration under control, the Conservative Party will further erode the trust of hundreds of thousands of voters who lent the party their vote in 2019," the report says.

Other areas the New Conservatives hope to focus on include tackling the “woke agenda” and promoting apprenticeships over universities.

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Last month, Mr Fletcher came under fire from constituents after he was just one of seven Tory MPs to offer his backing to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a damning report into the Partygate scandal revealed that Johnson had repeatedly misled Parliament over lockdown parties at Number 10 during the Covid pandemic.