David Davis warns that the Government’s benefits crackdown will prompt ‘surge’ in migrants


As reported in the Telegraph:
EU referendum: David Cameron’s benefits crackdown will prompt ‘surge’ in migrants, warns David Davis

David Cameron has been warned his proposed deal to curb benefits for European Union migrants could lead to a surge in the number coming to the UK before the “emergency brake” mechanism is applied.

Former Tory leadership contender David Davis MP warned that coverage of curbs on benefits would act as an incentive to workers to head to the UK over the coming months before a deal can be implemented.

The Prime Minister’s European Union referendum strategy has come under fire from his own grassroots activists and he has also faced reported unrest within his top team as he prepares for a crunch summit with his counterparts in Brussels at the end of next week.

Mr Davis, who is emerging as an unofficial leader of the ‘out’ movement, warned: “The so-called emergency brake that the Prime Minister is attempting to negotiate with Brussels is very likely to increase the number of people immigrating into the UK in the coming year.”

He said since the proposed deal, which could take a year to implement, was set out “Eastern European newspapers have carried numerous stories about in-work benefits and the plans to terminate them for the first four years after a migrants arrival in the UK”.

He said: “Under such circumstances the incentive for anybody wishing to come to live in the UK will be to come as quickly as possible to beat the deadline when any such restrictions come into effect.

“Accordingly we are likely to see a surge in migrants in the next 12 months.”

Separately there are signs that the two ‘out” campaign is getting its act together with two groups launching an over-arching Eurosceptic campaign on Monday to win official designation from the electoral watchdog and qualify for millions of pounds of public money.

The new umbrella campaign, to be called GO Movement, is backed by Know.EU and Grassroots Out, which is supported by Tory and Labour MPs, and will have cross party representation on its board.

Under the referendum rules, both ‘in’ and ‘out’ camps sides must have a designated “lead campaigner” which is then allowed to spend up to £7 million and post leaflets to voters for free.

Peter Bone MP, a founder of Grassroots Out, said: “This is not a party political issue. We are working with people from Labour, Ukip, the Greens, the DUP – people of all different parties, coming together to come out of the EU.

“This is not party politics, this is the most important vote people will have in their lifetime. I would urge everyone to make their minds up on what is in the country’s interest we must put the country first on this occasion.”

Lord Jones of Birmingham, a former Labour trade minister and ex-director general of the CBI, warned that the “out” campaigns had to merge or hand the victory to the “in” campaign.

He said: “If you are going to launch a campaign you are unified or you are dead.”

However a senior supporter of Vote Leave scotched any hope that the rival campaign might come together before the Electoral Commission has to make its choice.

Ukip MP Douglas Carswell told Sky News’ Murnaghan: “Vote Leave is going to apply for designation. I’m convinced that Vote Leave not only will get it, I think that Vote Leave stands the best chance of convincing the 48 million voters to vote to leave.”

He added: “If you are asking is there going to be a merger between Leave.EU and Vote Leave, no there isn’t.”

The news came as Priti Patel, a senior Government minister who sits in the Cabinet, declined to comment on strong reports that she will be a leader of the out campaign.

Her spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has made clear that this is a draft deal, and there is more work to do. Priti has always said she would make a judgement once we’ve seen the final deal.”