Theresa May: High levels of immigration threatens UK cohesion

High levels of immigration to the UK are unsustainable and threatening the cohesion of society, Home Secretary Theresa May has warned.

Mrs May told Conservative supporters at the party's conference there is a "limit to the amount of immigration any country can and should take".

"When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it's impossible to build a cohesive society," she said.

Britain "does not need net migration in the hundreds of thousands every year", May said, despite her reign as Home Secretary during record net migration levels.

Net migration to the UK is currently at a record high, and the Conservatives have been heavily criticised for failing to meet a 2010 pledge to cap immigration to the "tens of thousands".

Net migration hit its highest level on record. Credit: PA Wire

Mrs May - who is considered a potential successor to David Cameron as Conservative leader - warned of the pressures immigration has on Britain's infrastructure.

The Home Secretary Credit: PA Wire

Perhaps most controversially, she cited statistics which she claims show that the net economic and fiscal effect of high immigration is "close to zero".

"So there is no case, in the national interest, for immigration of the scale we have experienced over the last decade."

The Government is also set to announce that it will end the "absurdity" of European Union nationals making asylum claims in the UK.

Around 551 asylum claims have been made over the past five years from citizens in EU states such as Spain and Poland, costing the taxpayer £4.2 million, according to the Conservatives.

The home secretary said a "tougher approach" is needed to those who do not require Britain's help.