Allowing hard-working people with the skills we need to settle here is good for our country. But we’re a small, already densely populated island so numbers have to be controlled.
This Government has reduced immigration by a quarter. However, as the graph shows this headline figure disguises the fact that while immigration from outside the EU is down significantly, immigration from inside the EU - over which we currently have no control - has increased.
I was really pleased to hear the Prime Minister tackle this issue head on in his speech:
"We need controlled borders and an immigration system that puts the British people first.
"That’s why we’ve capped economic migration from outside the EU, shut down 700 bogus colleges that were basically visa factories and kicked out people who don’t belong here like Abu Qatada.
"But we know the bigger issue today is migration from within the EU. Immediate access to our welfare system. Paying benefits to families back home. Employment agencies signing people up from overseas and not recruiting here. Numbers that have increased faster than we in this country wanted at a level that was too much for our communities, for our labour markets.
"All of this has to change - and it will be at the very heart of my renegotiation strategy for Europe. Britain, I know you want this sorted so I will go to Brussels, I will not take no for an answer and when it comes to free movement – I will get what Britain needs.
"Anyone who thinks I can’t or won’t deliver this – judge me by my record. I’m the first Prime Minister to veto a Treaty, the first Prime Minister to cut the European budget and yes I pulled us out of those European bail-out schemes as well. Around that table in Europe they know I say what I mean and mean what I say.
"So we’re going to go in as a country, get our powers back, fight for our national interest and yes we’ll put it to a referendum. In or out – it will be your choice.
"And let the message go out from this hall: it is only with a Conservative Government that you will get that choice."
This is what my constituents have been waiting to hear. They're not anti-immigration. Many of them are migrants themselves or the children of migrants and those who are not have friends, neighbours and colleagues at work who are. They know from personal experience that many of the people who settle here work hard and make a great contribution to our town.
They simply want this country to have control of how many people come here so that the numbers can be brought down. It's fantastic news that the Prime Minister has made this the focus of his efforts to renegotiate our relationship with the EU.