Tory supporters warn the PM against out-Ukipping Ukip on immigration

Most Conservative supporters want more immigration, not less, according to the centre-right think tank, Bright Blue.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Most Conservatives want more immigration, not less. This is the message sent to David Cameron from Conservative supporters surveyed in a poll by Survation for the centre-right think tank, Bright Blue.

Here are the poll's key findings:

 - Fewer than one in six Tories (15 per cent) thought an ideal immigration system was one with fewer immigrants. In contrast, one in four people intending to vote Ukip who were polled held that view.

 - Only 7 per cent of those intending to vote Conservative said they wanted a system with no more immigrants coming in.

 - 85 per cent of Tories surveyed did not want to see a reduction in the numbers of international students coming to the UK.

 - 43 per cent of those intending to vote Conservative agreed that an ideal immigration system would be well-managed and keep out illegal immigrants, and 29 per cent agreed this would include only those who contribute.

 - When Tory respondents were asked to choose two preferred policies for improving the immigration system, 61 per cent chose restricting migrants' access to benefits over tightening the immigration cap on non-EU migrants (only 32 per cent chose this), or withdrawing from EU free movement of workers rules (29 per cent opted for this).

The results of this survey were published alongside a report from the think tank, A Balanced Centre-Right Agenda On Immigrationcalling on the Conservative party to be positive about immigration instead of aping Ukip.

This evidence is yet another indication that the PM ramping up his participation in the immigration arms race is misguided. It will only serve to boost his political enemies' popularity, and ultimately damage the economy he is so desperate to be seen rebuilding.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.