Labour to Help Cameron Defeat Tory Rebels over EU Work Restrictions
The Labour party is to vote with the government to help defeat an attempt by rebel Tory backbenchers to reimpose work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians until 2018.
As David Cameron held emergency talks with rebel Tories on Tuesday, Labour sources told The Guardian that Ed Miliband has decided it would be right to back the government to ensure Britain does not fall foul of EU law.
The decision by Labour to support the government may swell the ranks of Tory rebels, led by the backbench MP Nigel Mills, who have said that they want to re-impose "transitional controls" on Romanian and Bulgarian workers until 2018.
The controls were lifted on 1 January this year under EU rules that say they can no longer apply seven years after a member state joins the EU. Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.
But the move by Labour means that the Mills amendment will fail if it is called to a vote.
Tory backbenchers fear that the Mills amendment will not be called after Theresa May tabled 50 amendments, some of a highly technical nature, to the immigration bill for debate on Thursday. The report stage and third reading have been allocated just four hours debate.
There were suggestions last night that the government will struggle with a programme motion ahead of Thursday's tomorrow's debate which will set the timing for the proceedings. Rebels have been calling for more time.
Downing Street showed its nerves by calling in MPs. No 10 hopes to persuade rebels to switch their support from the Mills amendment to one that would force future governments to publish a detailed forecast of migration from future EU member states before negotiating an accession treaty. This has been tabled by the backbencher Stephen Phillips and is being supported by Labour.
The Labour party declined to confirm whether it would vote against the Mills amendment. It is to wait to see whether the government tables a "reasoned amendment" and it is to wait to see the programme motion for the day's business.
A Labour spokesman said: "We will wait to see what the government does in response to this amendment."
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