2005 May 05 Thursday
British Conservative Party Makes Gains Running Against Immigration

The Conservative Party in Britain was not able to run against the incumbernt Labour Party on the unpopular Iraq war because the Consevatives supported it as well. However, the Tories made large inroads by campaigning against immigration.

Blair's Labour Party was returned to power with a drastically reduced majority of an estimated 68 seats, down from 160 as the war in Iraq had a telling impact on voters.


Its forecast 36 per cent of the vote was the smallest winning share in modern history.


Labour MP Margaret Beckett said she had "a horrid feeling immigration helped the Conservatives".

Note the winning margin in their Parliamentary system. 64% of the British population voted against the winners.

The Consevatives picked up the largest chunk of Labour's losses.

The main opposition Conservative Party, which ran a pared-down, sharply focused campaign that emphasized law-and-order issues such as restricting immigration and adding police officers, would gain 30 to 44 seats, according to the projections. The third-party Liberal Democrats, the only major party that opposed the war, would gain five to 15.

The Conservatives believe the immigration issue worked in their favor.

In addition to a boost from voters turning against Tony Blair, Conservative canvassers were reporting that the use of the immigration issue had increased support among former Labour working-class voters, despite the widespread criticism that the tactic drew during the campaign.

The British Conservatives are against automatic asylum for anyone who claims to be persecuted.

The Conservatives propose an annual quota for immigrants and want to withdraw from the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, which obliges countries to take in asylum seekers based on need.

Most asylum claims are motivated by the desire to move to a wealthier country and make more money.

Even some non-whites supported the Conservatives due to immigration.

"Sometimes I think the authorities are too soft," said Dalbir Deol Singh, a Sikh voter in the Ilford North constituency now held by the governing Labour Party. Although he's voting for Labour, he says his children will vote for the Conservatives "because they feel too many immigrants means trouble for all of us."

A substantial minority of Hispanics in America also want less immigration. British Prime Minister Tony Blair had to respond to the Conservatives on immigration during the campaign by proposing tougher policies on immigration and political asylum.

Blair is also promising a tougher stand on immigration. One of his campaign slogans is "Your country's borders protected," and he has vowed to recruit 600 more border guards.

Taking a position in favor of immigration restriction against asylum seekers has worked very well for the ruling right-wing Liberal Party in Australia. British sentiment is building against immigration and the same is happening in the United States. Politicians in both countries are becoming less afraid to openly voice immigration restrictionist positions. Expect to see the immigration debate to play a much bigger role in the US election in 2008.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 May 05 11:33 PM  Immigration Politics

Brian said at May 6, 2005 6:55 AM:


I have started a "political action" blog related to immigration issues. Rather than focus on the broad policy issues (which are covered very well here and on other such as isteve.com), this is more of a "nuts and bolts" coverage of the political activites related to immigration.

I think there is a need for this becuase fair and other think tank blogs are "non-partisan", so they can only go so far in their coverage.

Please take a look if you get a chance.

crush41 said at May 6, 2005 10:18 AM:

Blair's campaign manager Joe Trippi, former head of Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, believes that immigration is the issue that hurt the Labor Party, much more than the Iraq War (about 1/5 the way down).

"You know, I think it is interesting, because they were worried about Iraq. But I think what these results—I think it was immigration. I mean, I was on the ground in London. And you couldn‘t talk to anybody. Cab drivers, everybody on the street was talking about immigrants and how they had to do something about it... Yes. And I think what‘s happening, if you look at—the Tories gained the seats, not the Liberal Dems."

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