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Tories plan to crackdown on immigration controls

Prime Minster Theresa May will unveil the Conservative manifesto on Thursday. Credit: AP

Theresa May's manifesto, published Thursday, will disappoint anyone who believes that if she wins the general election with a comfortable majority she will soften her approach to Brexit or controlling immigration.

In a bid presumably to complete her crushing of Ukip, the manifesto will say: "When immigration is too fast and too high, it is difficult to build a cohesive society” and that with annual net migration last recorded at 273,000 “immigration to Britain is still too high.”

There will be unambiguous wording, I am told, that immigration from the rest of the EU will be controlled at the moment we leave the EU, scheduled for April 2019.

Theresa May during an ITV News Facebook Live Q&A with voters.

And there will be tighter restrictions on immigration from outside the EU sooner.

One specific new tool for cutting immigration - to the reaffirmed target of "tens of thousands" (though it is a target without a deadline) - will be a doubling to £2000 in the annual charge levied on companies for each skilled worker they bring to the UK from the rest of the EU.

The proceeds will be used for training British workers.

The big message on Brexit of May's programme for government is that the principles she listed in her Lancaster House speech for exiting the EU - no future role for the European Court of Justice in Britain, departure from the single market and customs union, and control of immigration - will not be modified in any way.

It may well be seen as a rebuke to pro-European Tories not to expect a more understanding hearing from her if she increases the Tory majority in the way opinion polls suggest she will.