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Home Secretary Theresa May says staying in the EU would help UK to control immigration

Home Secretary Theresa May says staying in the EU is the only way that the UK can tackle immigration, declaring that leaving would not be a silver bullet that would solve the problem

The minister visited Maidstone (Thursday) to lend support to the Conservative candidate in the election for crime commissioner, Matthew Scott, which take place next Thursday.

Asked how remaining in the EU would help deal with the issue, she said:

“In terms of controlling our borders and security in checking people who are coming across our borders, we are very clear we continue to do that. And we won’t be part of the border free zone in the EU so we will retain the ability to check people as they come across our borders.”

Unlimited migration and the impact of free movement would not be solved just by quitting the EU, she adde

“Immigration has overall been good for the UK but we need to have control of the system. You cannot just take one measure and think that is going to bring control into the system - you have to work at this very carefully. You have to keep looking at what needs to be done. Pulling out of the EU is not the silver bullet that is going to solve all our immigration problems.”

Watch our special edition of Paul On Politics on the EU Referendum and the arguments for staying and going with political editor Paul Francis

On her suggestion that there should be a pause in admitting new member states, she said:

“There has been an automatic assumption that the EU should continue to expand and expand. I think we need to say ‘is that continuous expansion right for the future for the EU?’”

Pulling out of the EU is not the silver bullet that is going to solve all our immigration problems - Home Secretary Theresa May

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has seized on earlier comments by Mrs May in which she said the free movement of workers within the EU made it more difficult to curb immigration to the UK.

Speaking at a rally today, he brandished a UK passport which he said made it "impossible" to control the numbers arriving.

During her visit, Mrs May went to the town’s branch of MIND to talk to staff about their work and hear about an initiative in which a specialist mental health worker works in the police force’s control room. This person deals with 999 calls when the police operator identifies it as a mental health rather than a crime related issue.

Asked whether the policy of having crime commissioners was working, she said:

"It has turned out to be absolutely the right thing to do. What we see around the country is a much greater ability to recognise that there is somebody directly elected who is responsible for policing in their area and is a local voice. We are seeing some really good innovation.”

She hoped turnout would be greater after just 16% of Kent voters took part in the first election in 2012. There have been predictions that voter interest may see another poor turnout.

“Obviously, now crime commissioners have been in place for three and a half years people have seen them and I think will be more engaged in terms of turnout. Whatever the turnout was at the last election, it was greater than the mandate given to police authorities - they were unelected, and very often unaccountable to the public."

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