UK's Clegg to Urge Tighter Immigration Controls
Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will pledge tomorrow to tighten immigration controls for people from new European Union countries, The Telegraph has reported.
Nick Clegg “will point to the fact that tens of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians were able to enter the UK and register as self-employed” when British ministers “were boasting about capping the numbers of immigrants from the two countries” that joined the EU in 2007, the newspaper reported on Monday.
According to The Telegraph, his speech in London is being billed by his advisers as an attempt to show that the UK’s Liberal Democrats are not wedded to an unreformed European Union.
Clegg will say that he remains a supporter of the freedom of movement between EU member states but will highlight that in future immigrants from new EU member states will not be allowed to arrive to work in Britain.
According to The Telegraph, in his speech Nick Clegg will also blame the Labour Party for saying that only 13,000 immigrants would come from Eastern Europe when the borders opened in 2004 – only to see hundreds of thousands of people arrive in the following years.
Clegg will say: “When Romania and Bulgaria joined, Labour said no one from those countries would arrive ahead of the transition controls being lifted at the beginning of this year.
“Yet 60,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were already working here through a loophole for anyone who registered as self-employed,” according to The Telegraph.
But he will say that in future immigrants will not be allowed to come to work in Britain from new EU member states.
Clegg will say: “It is only right – and I say this as a pro-European – that we reform freedom of movement to reflect these realities,” The Telegraph noted.
“It is a right to work. It was never intended as an automatic right to claim benefits, but over time the distinction has been blurred.”
The UK’s political parties have made immigration a hot topic on their agenda ahead of next year’s general election alongside with response to Russia-Ukraine tensions, Middle East violence and Britain’s EU membership.
The Telegraph reported in June that two women from Bulgaria had been jailed after being flown from their native country to Manchester to marry Pakistani men facing deportation.
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