Lib Dems fear policy on migrants will damage UK

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A POLL of MPs today revealed deep concern among Liberal Democrats about the damage the government’s immigration policies could do to the British economy.

Every single one of the Lib Dem MPs interviewed by pollsters Ipsos Mori agreed that restrictions on migrants will harm the competitiveness of the UK economy.

The findings indicate stark divisions on the issue between the coalition parties, with just 9 per cent of Conservatives voicing worries, compared with 82 per cent who did not believe the economy would be damaged.

Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has previously signalled concern about immigration policy, warning that Britain’s economic future depends on being “open to overseas talent” in business, science and academia. He is believed to be leading Cabinet resistance to the Conservative goal of reducing immigration to tens of thousands annually.

The research also suggested that 40 per cent of MPs – including 64 per cent of Tories, 30 per cent of Lib Dems and 15 per cent of Labour – believe the euro will not survive the debt crisis in the European single currency area.

And it found a large majority of MPs in favour of action to force banks to separate their retail and high street operations.

The poll of MPs is conducted annually and is not usually broadcast more widely, but details of the results on banking reform and the single currency were published yesterday. 93 MPs took part in this year’s survey – 38 Conservatives, 44 from Labour, eight Liberal Democrats and three from other parties.

Asked whether restrictions on immigration would damage the competitiveness of the UK economy, 100 per cent of Liberal Democrats said yes, against 48 per cent from Labour and 9 per cent of Tories.