Tories back down over immigrants' English test | world | Hindustan Times
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Tories back down over immigrants' English test

world Updated: Jun 27, 2010 19:13 IST

A Labour MP has accused Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May of watering down a Tory pledge to bar immigrants unless they can speak good English.

The promise was part of Conservative leader David Cameron's election campaign but it has now been disclosed that families of asylum seekers allowed to settle in the UK will be exempt from the ban.

Labour MPs said the Conservatives had been forced to drop their hardline stance by their Liberal Democrat coalition partners who support uncontrolled immigration.

Former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: "This ruling means that a British man who marries, say, a Brazilian girl who can't speak English will not be able to bring her into this country.

"An Afghan who gets here on the back of a lorry and successfully claims asylum can bring his Afghan wife, children and grandparents in - even if they don't speak English.

"The Tories gave the impression that the English speaking test would apply to all immigrants.

"It is now clear that is not the case. It is absolutely essential that all immigrants speak English if they are to integrate with the rest of society. This is clear evidence that the Lib Dem tail is wagging the Conservative dog in this Coalition.