Top Tories are demanding that tougher border controls form part of plans to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the European Union. The Prime Minister is under pressure to limit free movement for those from poorer or newly joined countries, according to the Daily Express.
The move is gaining significant support from the Conservative backbench in Parliament, where right-wingers want a tougher stance to counter the UKIP threat. One backbencher, Nigel Evans, said last night: “We cannot have an open-door policy where everybody from poor EU countries can come and milk our social security system and our NHS or benefit from better job prospects. Immigration is not simply a British problem.
“There are a number of wealthier EU countries with mature social security systems that are relatively generous that are proving a magnet for those coming from poorer nations. It seems to me that David Cameron’s reform plans will appeal to many other European countries which want to protect their generous social security systems.”
The plan is also supported by Peter Bone, who said: “Immigration caused by EU freedom-of-movement rules is the number one issue that comes up on the doorstep when I talk to voters. It leads to pressure on housing, hospitals, schools and other public services. People want to see our borders brought back under control.”
Despite the plan’s popularity amongst Conservatives, and its likely electoral appeal, it will be vigorously opposed in Brussels. Free movement is a central pillar of the European Union and any plans to limit it would be extremely unpopular amongst the elites.
Calls for tougher immigration controls come at a low point in David Cameron’s relationship with European leaders. As previously reported on Breitbart London, the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President is seen as a disaster for those who, like Cameron, want reform.
Juncker’s position means that the Prime Minister’s plan to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU is almost certain to end in failure. This is turn will force Cameron into a sticky situation, as he has pledged to vote to leave the EU if reform is not forthcoming.
Whilst Cameron makes no pretence at being genuinely eurosceptic, he has based his entire European policy around the threat to leave: a threat he had not expected to have to go through with, but is now looking increasingly likely.
His problem is that the EU leadership makes approving noises at the general idea of reform, but they almost always oppose the specifics. Britain’s position on immigration, tax and subsidiarity are all likely to be firmly resisted in Brussels.
This would leave Cameron with no choice but to go into the proposed 2017 EU referendum advocating that the UK leave.