Figures showing how many Romanians and Bulgarians have come to the UK will be published on the day of the European Elections. The figures could add to the woes of the Conservatives, who are already expected to come third after Labour and UKIP.
The statistics will be the first indication of how many Romanians and Bulgarians have entered the United Kingdom since the restriction on their entry was lifted on January 1st this year. Conservative figures fear they are likely to show a large influx of mainly unskilled labour, despite existing unemployment problems of in Britain.
The coincidence came about because the date of publication was fixed before the date of the election, and therefore cannot be changed. The quarterly statistics are published by the Office of National Statistics and will include detailed information on how many European migrants have entered the country.
A Conservative minister told The Sun: “The timing could not possibly be worse for us. It’s sheer bad luck, but there is nothing we can do but suck it up.”
Whilst an ONS spokesman said: “The date of these Euro elections was moved at quite a late stage. Because the migration stats had already been scheduled by then it appears they should go ahead as planned.”
Britain operates a purdah rule that means major announcements are not generally scheduled during elections. The intention is to prevent governments unveiling popular policies in the days before the polls.
The government had put temporary restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians but they ran out on 1st January. Despite the restrictions the last quarterly statistics still showed there were 144,000 people from the two former Communist countries working in the UK.