Daily Archives: March 1, 2013

Jim Pickard

The biggest irony of Eastleigh is that voting was dominated by an anti-immigration surge on precisely the same day that statistics showed that net migration to the UK had fallen by a third.

The anti-EU, anti-immigration Ukip came second and almost seized its first ever by-election success. Had the party poured more resources into the contest – and perhaps fielded leader Nigel Farage as candidate – it could have had its own Galloway/Bradford moment.

And yet as voters went to the polls in the nondescript Hampshire town yesterday, new ONS data showed net migration at 163,000 in the year to June 2012. That was a big fall from the peak of about 250,000 in late 2010.

The coalition is still failing to hit its promise to bring down annual net migration to “tens of thousands” – but this pledge was only for 2015, so ministers can argue they are on track.

But has the public noticed? These statistics are almost certainly lost with voters, many Read more