James Slack, Daily Mail, March 17, 2015
Too many babies are being born to immigrant mothers in the UK, a Government minister said last night.
In controversial remarks, Lord Bates said that a quarter of children born in the UK each year now had a mother who was herself from overseas.
He added: ‘That is why we need to reduce immigration’.
In 2001, prior to Labour presiding over a decade of wide-scale immigration, only 16 per cent of UK births were to foreign mothers.
Home Office Minister Lord Bates reeled off a series of statistics to demonstrate the significant impact mass immigration is having.
They included the fact that, at the end of December 2013, there were an estimated 7.8million people born overseas living in the UK.
It is understood to be the first time a Government minister has directly suggested a need to reduce the number of babies being born to immigrants.
However, ministers and campaign groups have in the past stressed the pressure which is being put on maternity services and schools.
Lord Bates, who was previously MP for Langbaurgh in the north east, was responding to a House of Lords question from Migrationwatch chairman Lord Green of Deddington.
In lively exchanges, Lord Green said that–based on current levels of net migration–Britain would have to build a new city the size of Birmingham every two years to cope.
Currently, there are 300,000 more people arriving in the UK every year than leaving–demolishing David Cameron’s pledge to cut the figure to the ‘tens of thousands’.
Lord Bates said: ‘We are absolutely at one on needing a firm but fair immigration policy to protect the public services of this country and provide opportunities for those who want to come here to work.’
However, he was criticised by members of the Labour and Liberal Democrat benches for his comments.
Labour’s Lord Soley said the children of migrants ‘have made an immensely valuable contribution to the United Kingdom’. He added: ‘We ought to be proud of that and say so.
Baroness Hussein-Ece, a Lib Dem, said political leaders ‘need to make a case for the positive impact that immigration has had on this country’.
She added: ‘The care system would collapse without immigrant labour. Does the Minister think that the constant negative narrative of immigration, without the positive, is detrimental to British society–a society that has always been one of tolerance which values and upholds democracy in building better institutions? Do the Government not really need to take the lead on this?’
There has been controversy over the most accurate way of measuring the impact immigration is having on the size of the UK population.
Last year, a report by Migrationwatch said immigration could be responsible for as much as 84 per cent of the surge in Britain’s population this century.
The study claimed the true impact of immigration has been ‘substantially understated’ because the Office for National Statistics did not count 1.3million children born to foreign parents as part of the impact of immigration on population growth.
It concluded that of the 4.6million population rise between 2001 and 2012, 3.8million is due to the biggest wave of immigration the country has faced.
Not including children born in the UK meant net migration was recorded at a much lower 2.5million.
In separate exchanges with the Labour benches, Lord Bates defended the Prime Minister’s failure to hit his ‘tens of thousands’ target.
He said: ‘It could well be that when the Prime Minister was making those remarks we were in the depths of despair as a country in 2010.
‘Since then we have had a jobs miracle. We have created more jobs than the rest of Europe put together.
‘As a result of that, not surprisingly, people want to come and find work.’
Lord Bates, an Oxford graduate, was made a Deputy Speaker of the Lords in 2013.
He served as a Government whip before being appointed to the Home Office last year. He speaks for the Government in the Upper Chamber on all matters dealt with by Theresa May’s department.