Clegg swaps immigrant ‘amnesty’ for tough talk

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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg has scrapped controversial proposals for an immigrant “amnesty” as he unveiled a tough stance on visa abuse.

The Liberal Democrat leader said plans to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the UK if they have been in the country for ten years, which were seen as key to the party’s manifesto in the run-up to the 2010 general election, risked “undermining public confidence”.

In his first speech on immigration as Deputy Prime Minister, he said: “Despite the policy’s aims, it was seen by many people as a reward for those who have broken the law.”

He added: “That is why I am no longer convinced this specific policy should be retained in our manifesto for the nextgeneral election.”

Taking a harder line on immigration, Mr Clegg unveiled plans for bail-like security bonds, which would be paid as a cash guarantee from visa applicants coming from high-risk countries.

The Liberal Democrat proposals for a so-called “earned route to citizenship” were rounded on by Conservatives and Labour when they were announced in the run-up to the general election nearly three years ago.