13/03/2014 11:24 GMT | Updated 13/03/2014 11:59 GMT

David Cameron Defends Hiring Nepalese Nanny

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during the official opening event for the computer fair CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, Sunday evening, March 9 2014. Great Britain is the partner country at this year's CeBIT which runs through March 14. (AP Photo/dpa, Peter Steffen)

David Cameron has defended hiring a Nepalese nanny while at the same time arguing for a net migration to fall below 10,000 by 2015.

The spotlight was put on the prime minister's decision to employ someone born abroad after the immigration minister James Brokenshire attacked the "metropolitan elite" for hiring immigrants.

When asked about the apparent contradiction on Thursday, Cameron said : "I have an excellent woman, Gita Lima, who looks after my children, who is a British citizen who came originally from Nepal. She carried out her exam to become a British citizen and does a fantastic job and fits the description of someone who wants to work hard and get on."

Speaking during a trip to Israel, Cameron added: "I didn't give her any assistance in those exams you take to become a British citizen. One of the questions is 'What is the role of the British Cabinet?' I won't share with you the answer I gave."

However Cameron's admirable defence of Lima sits awkwardly with his stated aim of dramatically cutting immigration. A sharp increase in the latest set of figures has also cast doubt on his ability to hit the 10,000 target.

Asked if he would now abandon the pledge, Cameron said: "On immigration, we have a very clear argument, which is to say that it has been too high and needs to come down. It has come down across the course of this government by almost 20%. We have brought immigration from outside the EU down by something like one third to its lowest level since 1998."

Cameron has struck an increasingly tough line on immigration over the past year, including describing it as having been "badly out of control" and "far too high".

Cameron has employed Lima for several years since recruiting her through from Kalayaan, a charity that helps immigrants to escape abusive bosses. She took a temporary leave of absence in 2012, during which an Australian nanny filled in.