Martin Beckford, Telegraph (London), March 8, 2012
The YouGov poll found that overall more than four out of five respondents backed the Government’s plans to tighten up checks on foreigners before they are allowed to join spouses and relatives in Britain.
But it found that even those who voted Lib Dem at the election were in favour of the proposals, alongside Conservative and Labour supporters, despite the third party’s more relaxed policies on immigration.
The survey of 2,287 adults found that 81 per cent of those who voted Lib Dem at the general election were in favour of applicants for family migration to be interviewed in their home countries, to make sure their application to settle in Britain is genuine. The same proportion of Labour voters, and slightly more Tory voters (88 per cent) agreed with the policy.
In addition, 93 per cent of Lib Dem voters agreed with the suggestion that potential migrants should have to understand everyday English, more than the 87 per cent of Labour voters recorded.
Finally 75 per cent of Lib Dem supporters agreed that the minimum income for migrants who want to bring partners from overseas should be raised from £5,500 a year to £18,000. By contrast, 69 per cent of Labour voters and 91 per cent of Conservatives backed the plan.
Sir Andrew Green the chairman of Migration Watch UK, the pressure group that commissioned the poll, said: “These are stunning results. They are a huge public endorsement of the proposals that the Government has put forward.”
Although the Coalition has put forward several policies to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” a year, down from the current level of 250,000, many have met resistance from senior Lib Dem MPs.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has led claims that the cap on migrant numbers will damage the economy and a year ago warned David Cameron that his rhetoric on immigration “risked inflaming extremism”.