Taken from PoliticsHome;
“A senior Tory MP has criticised the Government’s proposal to require GPs to check patients’ immigration status before treating them.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time in Coventry, David Davis said the plans, which will be brought forward in a new Immigration Bill, were “very unwise”.
“When we take on immigration policy… it should be fair and civilised,” he said.
The former shadow home secretary said that use of the NHS was not a ‘pull factor’ for potential migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, but rather it was the comparatively high wages in the UK that would attract people.
Fellow panellist Jo Swinson defended the Government’s policy, however, saying it was right to be “intolerant of abuse of the system because it’s not fair”.
In another implied criticism at the Tory leadership, Mr Davis hit out at the three main parties for “sneering” at UKIP.
“They’ve highlighted parts of the public debate that we haven’t paid enough attention to – immigration, Europe… which main parties have tended to shy away from, they’ve highlighted and they’ve had a huge – and everyone’s got to recognise this – a up-tick in support… The simple truth is we’ve got to recognise this. It’s not good enough for the main parties to sneer at them.”
Tristram Hunt agreed that there was a need to address the issues raised by UKIP, and said he was “up for the argument”. “Their answers are misguided and wrong, but we have to take on them at a policy level,” he said.
Mr Hunt also identified UKIP’s “interesting” leader Nigel Farage as a key part of UKIP’s appeal – something that Lib Dem Ms Swinson agreed with. “He’s a decent kind of bloke, he’s very direct and he’s clearly struck a chord with people,” the Business minister said.
Mr Davis is one of the Conservative MPs backing an amendment that could force a Commons vote on an In/Out EU referendum. He insisted the UK had “nothing to fear” from leaving the UK, but supported the idea of allowing the Prime Minister a chance to renegotiate Britain’s relationship first.
However Labour MP Mr Hunt made an impassioned defence of the UK’s continued membership.
“The single market takes 50% of our trade and investment – we export more to Belgium than to Russia, than to China, than to Indonesia… our economy is absolutely embedded in Europe so if you care about jobs, if you care about pensions… you have to be a believer in reform, yes, but also a single market.”
After former chancellors Lord Lawson and Lord Lamont, along with former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo, threw their weight behind the ‘out’ campaign in recent days, Mr Hunt said they had taken a “very London, finance-centred view” which did not take into account the impact on the rest of the country.”
Ms Swinson said it would be a “daft time” to create uncertainty with the EU, and stressed that the Government had already legislated for a referendum if there was a signficiant shift of powers to Brussels.