A right-wing think tank that campaigns for tougher immigration controls has been accused of risking the livelihoods of thousands of British people.
It is not possible to be both a member of the European single market and in control of EU immigration, it said.
If the UK remains a member of the single market, EU migration will remain high and is unlikely to fall below 155,000 a year in the medium term.
But the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, said it was no surprise that Ukip’s favourite think-tank is pushing for a hard Brexit that would rip Britain out of the single market, costing jobs and risking the livelihoods of thousands of British people.
Criticising the findings, he said the majority of people in the UK wish to stay in the single market.
They do not want a hard Brexit that would leave Britain economically isolated and poorer, he said.
Migration Watch’s paper said the scope for a significant reduction in the number was extremely limited” if Britain remained a member of the single market, and thus subject to free movement of people.
The most recent official figures showed that total international net migration the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country was at a near record estimated level of 335,000 in the year to the end of June.
This is considerably more than the Government’s target of less than 100,000. Net migration for EU citizens was estimated to be 189,000, the highest number recorded.
Ukip’s immigration spokesman John Bickley claimed that the report showed a population explosion would occur in the coming years if immigration was not strictly clamped down on.
Today’s report from Migration Watch makes it crystal clear that remaining in the EU’s single market will mean the continuation of uncontrolled immigration, he said. Throughout the EU referendum campaign both sides made it utterly apparent that voting to leave the European Union meant leaving the single market.
These new forecasts show that failing to control immigration will result in a population explosion of 12 million in 25 years, equivalent to the entire current populations of Bulgaria and New Zealand.
In response to the report a Government spokesperson said: The people spoke very clearly in the referendum to say they wanted Britain to control its own borders and to see lower levels of immigration.
That is what we will deliver as we strike the best possible deal for leaving the EU: one that is unique to Britain, not an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution.
We have been clear that this must mean the UK controlling its borders and reducing immigration but also British companies having the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the single market.