A Tory MP has called on politicians to be “honest with the public” about why the UK needs immigrants.
Former health minister Steve Brine said there wouldn’t be enough social care workers to “look after your ailing parents” without an influx of foreign labour.
Official figures last week revealed how net migration hit 672,000 in the year to June – three times higher than the government’s target.
Right-wing Conservatives have warned that the party could cease to exist if it fails to bring the number down before the next election.
Rishi Sunak has vowed to “clamp down” on immigration with new measures to reduce the numbers coming to the UK.
But on Times Radio today, Brine said “we need these workers” to do the jobs British people won’t.
And he took aim at former home secretary Suella Braverman, who said the immigration numbers were “a slap in the face to the British public”.
Brine, who is chair of the health and social care select committee, said: “Would that be a slap in the face to the care workers from outside the UK who look after your ailing parents?
“Would it be the Ukrainians that are living among us and contributing to our society, are they the slap in the face? Or would it be the people coming here from British Hong Kong?
“I hear this talk all the time and Labour has fallen into this trap as well. Oh, you know, ‘we need to get to the numbers down’, but which of the groups?”
The Winchester MP added: “We need these workers. We need them, particularly in social care.
“We’ve got around 152,000 vacancies in adult social care. And I just say it again, they are the people who look after your ailing parents and grandparents when families can’t because they’re working. They’re the people that pick up the slack.
“And we need to have a very serious look at ourselves as a society as to what do we actually want to be? Do we do we want to be honest with the public, because we need migration into this country.
“And if we’re just going to slash migration so that we can, you know, meet a political priority, and please the former home secretary then I don’t think we’re serving the society and the economy as we should be.”