As published in The Daily Mail:
Immigration to be red line issue in EU talks, says PM: Cameron insists he will set out ‘all those issues’ that will form basis of British demands over coming months
The Prime Minister told MPs yesterday that he plans to set out ‘all those issues’ that will form the basis of Britain’s demands ‘in the months ahead’.
As the Daily Mail revealed earlier this month, a system that would allow the UK to impose a block on incomers from particular countries if numbers become too big is being backed by key Conservative figures.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron’s former leadership rival David Davis noted that ‘the Conservative Party and only the Conservative Party will deliver a referendum and a renegotiation on Europe’.
He added: ‘Will the Prime Minister tell us his intentions as bringing to this House the red line issues that will feature in his renegotiation and can he give us a preview of some of those issues today?’
Mr Cameron said Britain’s demands would include ‘safeguards for the single market, the ability to block new regulation, making sure Britain comes out of ever closer union, and crucially as I said in my conference speech, we have to address the issues of immigration’.
‘I am looking forward to addressing all of those issues in the months ahead,’ the Prime Minister added.
Conservative ministers want fundamental reform of the EU’s founding principle of free movement, which allows people to move between countries, Government sources say.
They are proposing new rules to apply to all new member states ensuring that their economies must reach a certain level before free movement of their citizens is allowed.
The change would be designed to eliminate the overwhelming economic pull for people to move from poor countries to richer ones.
Britain is also expected to propose an ’emergency brake’ on an influx from EU states that could be applied if numbers exceeded expectations.
The idea would be a central demand of Mr Cameron’s plan to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU if he wins next year’s general election before holding an in/out referendum in 2017.
The system would allow the UK, or other countries seeing a large number of incomers from other member states, to bar any further arrivals for a fixed period.
It would be used to prevent a repeat of what happened in 2004, when Labour opted not to impose transitional controls on EU migrants from the so-called A8 countries, including Poland, which joined the EU.
Ed Miliband is facing a growing rebellion from his own party over his refusal to offer an EU referendum, it emerged yesterday.
Thirty-four Labour MPs have now declared publicly that they disagree with their leader’s stance on an in/out vote on Britain’s place in Europe.
They include Labour’s policy chief Jon Cruddas, shadow education minister Steve McCabe, and two former Labour government ministers, Keith Vaz and Andrew Smith.
Meanwhile yesterday it emerged that Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, has suggested Labour should back the Conservatives in proposing reform of EU free movement rules.
Mr Balls agreed there could no longer be a ‘free-for-all’ in terms of the migration of workers within the EU.
Tory ministers are understood to be prepared to use Britain’s veto to prevent any further expansion of the EU bloc unless free movement is reformed. At least seven more countries, including Turkey, have suggested they want to join the EU.
Home Secretary Theresa May, speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham last month, said of the Tories’ proposed EU renegotiation, she said: ‘Free movement is an area where there needs to be change in the future.’
Mrs May defended the Government’s record on reducing immigration so far. ‘Where we can control immigration, we have been.
‘Net migration from outside the European Union is down to the levels of the 1990s, but of course, European free movement rules mean that we are not able to exercise as much control in that area, and we have seen increases in the number of people coming to the UK from the European Union.
‘Partly of course that’s a function of our economy growing more strongly than others in Europe so that’s an attraction for people to come and look for work. It’s important we constantly challenge ourselves to ensure we are doing everything we can on the immigration system.’