Growing in support and confidence, Nigel Farage’s party now represents a formidable threat to Conservative fortunes.
Only yesterday, an opinion poll gave UKIP 24 per cent, just five points behind the Conservatives.
That is why the Tories are becoming so desperate to shore up their base.
Everything they have tried so far, from smears about racism to the promise of a referendum on EU membership, has failed to stem the flow of former Tory voters towards UKIP.
Now, recognising that immigration will be the key issue at the next general election, Cameron has indicated that he wants to go even further.
Over the weekend the Downing Street spin machine explained that, in an imminent major speech, he will set out plans to impose an annual cap on the number of immigrants from the European Union, perhaps at a figure of 100,000-a-year.
This will be achieved, it is said, by imposing a strict limit on the number of National Insurance (NI) registrations.
In a concerted attempt to display robust ministerial determination, Cameron was backed up by the Home Secretary Theresa May, who declared that the Government is considering how to restrict the access of immigrants to tax credits.
She is absolutely right to address this problem, for migrants’ tax credits cost the taxpayer no less than £5 billion-a-year.
This colossal bill not only means that the British public is effectively subsidising the import of cheap labour at the expense of our own workers, but it also makes a mockery of the propaganda from the pro-immigration brigade that the vast influx of foreigners is not a burden on the state.
But this pose of resolution is unconvincing.
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