Live updates

  1. National

PM: We must ensure those coming here are brightest

Outlining his immigration plans, David Cameron has said: "Under the previous government immigration was far too high and the system was badly out of control. Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands."

He added: "As we bring net migration down, so we must also make sure that Britain continues to benefit from it...

"That means ensuring the people who do come here are the brightest and the best, the people we really need with the skills and entrepreneurial talent to help create the British jobs and growth that will help us to win in the global race."


  1. National

Immigrants 'significantly less likely' to claim benefits

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said immigrants were "significantly less likely" to claim benefits than people born in the UK - and that those coming from EU countries put more into the economy than they took out.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme arrivals were mostly younger people whereas the bulk of spending went on healthcare and pensions for older people.

"All the evidence suggests that people who come here from within the European Union make a substantial net contribution to the public finances - they pay in far more than they take out," he said.

He also played down the impact of health tourism as a "minuscule" part of a wider funding issue.

Prime Minister to visit region

David Cameron will be at a college in Buckinghamshire Credit: PA

The Prime Minister, David Cameron is in the region today.

He will be at a college in Buckinghamshire to mark the start of National Apprenticeship week.

According to recent figures, 45,820 people started apprenticeships in the East of England last year, a rise of 15.2% on the previous year.


PM branded a "Chambermaid" by Northampton MP

Under fire: David Cameron Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

David Cameron has come under fire from another of the region's MPs.

Northampton South MP Brian Binley branded the Prime Minister a "chambermaid" for the Conservatives' coalition partners.

Mr Binley said what the Government actually needed was a major change of direction

In a post on his website, he wrote: "What the country, the Conservative party and the captain of the ship needs now is not so much a reshuffle as a rethink.

"Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic will do nothing to alter the impression that the ship has lost its way."

He said Mr Cameron needed to change his relationship with the Lib Dems and also build bridges with disaffected Conservatives.

He criticised Mr Cameron for agreeing to the "self-indulgent lunacy" of the Lib Dems.

"The country needs a full-time Prime Minister and not a chambermaid for a marginal, irrelevant pressure group who have got him in a virtual arm-lock with a constant stream of threats to abandon ship."

Mr Binley, treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, said the Prime Minister should repair the damage in his relationship with the party's grassroots.

Northampton South MP Mr Binley's intervention follows the criticism of Mr Cameron from senior Conservative Tim Yeo, who questioned the Prime Minister's political courage over the issue of a third runway at Heathrow.

Load more updates