Coffee House

Tory MPs to press Theresa May on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants

21 January 2013

5:34 PM

21 January 2013

5:34 PM

Tory backbenchers will raise concerns about the government’s preparations for the lifting of controls on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants at a meeting with the Home Secretary in the next few weeks, I understand. Conservative MPs are becoming increasingly nervous about the situation, fearing that if handled poorly, it could have a particularly bad impact on the party’s performance in the 2014 European elections, as the transitional controls end on 31 December 2013.

One of those worried backbenchers is former ministerial aide Stewart Jackson, who tells me he is considering introducing a modified version of the 10-Minute Rule Bill that he brought before the House in October. The European Union Free Movement Directive 2004 (Disapplication) Bill would have limited the right of EU citizens to move to Britain. Jackson accuses ministers of ‘institutional lethargy’ on the issue, adding:

‘My view is that the Prime Minister needs to oversee this issue because it is a potential catastrophe in the run-up to the European elections, combining immigration and Europe. We have got to convince people who are worried. There has been institutional lethargy: no-one has really taken ownership of it, whether it’s Eric Pickles, Theresa May, or Iain Duncan Smith: everyone assumes that someone else is looking after it and no-one is.’

The Home Office told Coffee House last week that work had already begun on a response to the end of the controls, with particular focus on reducing the ‘pull factor’ for migrants. Immigration Minister Mark Harper is leading a ministerial group on the matter.


For some ideas of what the government could do, it’s also worth looking at the proposals published last week by the Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs. The proposals on immigration in the ‘Manifesto for Change’ would not require treaty change, which clearly makes them a little more attractive than other demands. They include:

– Challenging access to social security for European nationals, and the right to reside. The group argued that the government should build an alliance with other member states opposed to the European Commission’s ‘meddling in domestic social security rules’, try to amend the Free Movement Directive to prevent migrants from being able to receive unemployment benefits for a prolonged period of time, and raising the threshold for automatic eligibility for permanent residence from five years to 10 years.

– Securing the right in treaties when countries join the EU to extend transitional controls for longer than initially planned. Though this would not apply to Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, it could be useful for future accessions such as Turkey.

These are ideas for a long-term discussion, but Mark Pritchard says this issue must be treated with greater urgency:

‘It is clear from the last accession that numbers will be 50,000 plus. This will have a direct impact on housing, health services, the welfare bill, and community cohesion. There needs to be action to take back control of our borders before the general election – not after 2018.’

As Jackson points out, this is a particularly toxic issue for the government as it involves two highly charged issues. The Tories don’t need to guess what the consequences are for a government when it appears surprised by and inadequately prepared for a change in immigration: Labour’s own experience gave them sufficient warning of that.

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Show comments
  • bhehc

    She has to block them from coming we cannot cope with ay more mass immigration

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  • Boudicca_Icenii

    “Conservative MPs are becoming increasingly nervous about the situation, fearing that if handled poorly, it could have a particularly bad impact on the party’s performance in the 2014 European elections”
    So not in the slightest bit concerned about the impact on the British people and communities which are already overrun with immigrants from Eastern Europe.
    No concern about the fact that most, if not all of them, will land in the UK and immediately demand welfare for themselves and their brood of kids. No concern about them jumping the queue for social housing; seeking treatment on the NHS and registering their kids for state education – all paid for by British taxpayers.
    No concern that amongst the immigrants who genuinely want to seek work, there will be a sizeable criminal element who simply want to prey on a society that has far greater prospects that their own and which treats them very well indeed if they are unlucky enough to be caught.
    They are concerned about their votes ……… says it all really.
    We cannot repair our economy or provide jobs for unemployed British people if we have uncontrolled and uncontrollable immigration from Eastern Europe. The “free movement of people” doesn’t work when you have societies with such a large disparity of income and welfare provision and immigrants have full access to a welfare state which they have never paid into.
    ONLY UKIP understands and talks about this. LibLabCON would rather sweep it under the carpet and pretend that all is well in the land of “free everything.”

  • Tom Tom
  • Tom Tom
  • sceptic3

    The Tories have no intention of curbing immigration. They are importing voters.

  • Mary Mayer

    given that the French and others have exported people they don’t want (suspected terrorists) and just got a fairly small fine why can’t we do similar (this is entirely theoretical of course), refuse to admit people and take the fine. I mean what else can they do?

  • Noa

    The EU Directives are in place and can’t, or more precisely, won’t be changed. The UK Satrapy of the EU must do as it’s told or else a Commissar will parachuted in to take corrective action.

    This ‘concern’ doesn’t add up to anything more than fiddling whilst the Roma burns.

  • Ron Todd

    Nobody realy knows howmany will come here. If it is a large number the labour party will get a lot of potential future voters and will be able to blame the Tories.

  • Bert3000

    If we don’t get a few thousand hard working Bulgarians in, who’s going to clean up the pools of wee round the UKIP voters?

    • Noa

      Some of the 5 million plus immigrants who’ve already arrived here in the last few years to enjoy the UK’s beneficence.

      • Bert3000

        Your imagination’s going wild. Time for your pills.

        • Noa

          As you have suppressed you understanding you should stop taking yours.

    • David Lindsay

      A population which absolutely refuses to reproduce itself is bound to be replaced.

      But perhaps without precedent, and I certainly cannot think of one, this particular population with a death wish can choose to be replaced by African and Asian Muslims, or by Eastern Europeans a key part of whose own self-understanding is as bulwarks against Islam.

      Which is it to be?

  • benfromharrow

    That’s great. They only want to bring controls in because it might impact on their performance in the Euro elections. They should be bringing controls in because that is what the british people want!

    • Michael Turner

      I totally agree with this comment. Whilst it has always been the case that governments will adopt a stance based on electioneering and not whats in the best interests of the country., they used to do it discreetly. now they do it so openly it seems to have become a perfectly normal ‘ modus operandi ‘.

  • CaediteEos

    I’m not sure what’s worse – mass immigration imposed on us by our supposed elected representatives, or mass immigration imposed on us by EU legislation that our supposed elected representatives seem powerless to do anything about.

  • John Moss

    Genuine question. Can somebody please spell out in simple terms what “rights” EU nationals have if they arrive here with no job and no home?

    • Jim Moore

      everyone is a EU citizen equally anywhere in the EU ! That is the paradox for people to understand because we British are in fact subjects and citizens only for EU purposes by our own laws changed in 1983. This is why many UK residents who are one of the six types of British subjects only 2 are EU citizens UK and Gibraltar

    • Justathought

      They are entitled to exactly the same as someone who had paid national insurance and tax here all their life.

      • Framer

        Romanians and Bulgarians are not yet entitled to social security benefits as of right but will be in ten months. They can and do receive child benefit on arrival.
        Since a case at a social security tribunal involving a self-employed ‘Big Issue’ seller last year in Bristol who had a a national insurance number and was liable to tax (although never paid any) because her sales were so low her income was sufficiently small as to entitle her to housing benefit. Not sure if self-employed NI contributions were sought or paid, but from that moment on pretty well all Romanians became eligible for housing benefit.

        The government said it would undo this ruling but hasn’t and won’t.

  • David Lindsay

    Why would they come here at the moment, never mind after another year of this?

    Why would anyone?

    • John Lea

      I know, because we’re so horrible in this country, aren’t we? I bet that hook-handed Hamza bloke was desperate to leave, really, but was just too shy and retiring to say so. I reckon the droves who come here each year from Eastern Europe all arrived here by mistake…probably meant to go to Germany or Belgium instead, but ended up getting on the wrong bus in Lithuania. Or perhaps….perhaps…just perhaps, mind, it has something to do with the fact that they are entitled to benefits and free healthcare here as soon as they arrive.

      • David Lindsay

        By the end of this year, what healthcare or benefits? And I don’t mean only for them.

        • Chris lancashire

          Grow up.

          • David Lindsay

            You’ll see.

            If you didn’t live in some leafy Tory ghetto, then you would already see. On various sites when I have asked this question, people have regaled me with the Borat-like horrors of Romania and Bulgaria. Every single one of them, to my certain knowledge, has come into existence in this country since the advent of the present Government.

            No one is going to move to a land of rickets, tuberculosis, food banks, suicides over benefit withdrawals, and pupils fed and clothed at the personal expense of their teachers. A land, however, where there was no recession on the day of the last General Election.

            What a difference, in as little as a year and half. Imagine, if you can, what things will be like after another year. If they could raise the fares, then people from Britain would by then be more likely to move to Romania or Bulgaria. Seriously.

            • Noa

              I prefer to accept last week’s Migrationwatch estimate of a minimum 50,000 per year, to a total of 250,000, and maybe many more from Spain, plus Roma, in the absence of any compelling ‘stay at home’ evidence.

              • David Lindsay


                • Noa

                  Sigh, I repeat “…in the absence of any compelling ‘stay at home’ evidence.”

                • David Lindsay

                  What does that even mean?

                  Why would anyone move from their own part of the Lower Second World to someone else’s?

                • Noa

                  So, you have no empirical data to support your proposition, just a theory, built on hypothesis, relying on hyperbole…

                • David Lindsay

                  There is no hyperbole involved.

                  Most people never migrate from their own countries, and nothing about Britain even now, never mind after another year of the present lot, would be remotely attractive to Romanians or Bulgarians.

                  At least not economically. And the other reasons why people abroad sometimes like Britain (though rarely enough to move here) are dependent on the maintenance of the necessary economic basis, which is not happening at the moment.

                • Noa

                  So show me, as they say in Missouri.

                  A million Poles came when 15,000 were expected.

                  A search on the net will provide thousands of stories and links showing the happy, carefree folk of Roumania preparing for their departure.

                  Whether they like what they find when they get here we don’t know. But why shouldn’t they? A free slum in Rotherham on UK benefits is far preferable to starving in a Bucharest slum.

                  On the other hand there’s little to show that Roumanians are giving a resounding “Nu!!!” to taking the way West.

                • David Lindsay

                  I do not see how starving (as people are literally doing now) in a slum in Britain is preferable to starving in a slum in Romania, least of all if you happen to be a Romanian.

                  Britain was a vastly more prosperous place when the Poles came here that she is now. They are now going back to Poland, because they are better off there.

                • Noa

                  Your unsupported, indeed unsupportable opinion is worthless.

                  “…The 2011 census shows that people from Poland are the second biggest group of foreign residents now living in England and Wales, behind Indians. By contrast, in 2001 Poles were not even in the top 20. Pakistanis represent the next biggest group of foreign residents.
                  There are now 694,000 Indian-born people in England and Wales, 579,000 of Polish origin and 482,000 who hail originally from Pakistan.”

                  Those Poles, they really hate the place, don’t they? Just like the Roumanians and Bulgarians.

                • David Lindsay

                  Things in this country have changed rather a lot, and not for the better, since the census in 2011.

                • Noa

                  Ah, those vehement, informed discussions of the Osborne budget, the UK Debt and the nuances of deficit reduction which take place nightly in the boulevards and cafes of cosmopolitan, uptown Bucharest.

                  “Ah, Alexandru, above the line it is only £1.1 trillion, but the additional pension liabilities blow a hole in our housing benefits and JSA projections. My updated IPad Cost benefit analysis shows we’re better here…”

                • dalai guevara

                  Ok Noa, you have done your bit to demonstrate that the Eastern Europeans are not welcome. They will get that message (in general) before they decide to make the journey, and perhaps get twice the benefits in countries closer to home (even Greece, where it’s warm, has a higher payout, go check!).

                  However, how is your Polish plumber bathroom and kitchen working out for you? You did benefit just a few years ago from them turning up to replace the unreliable indigenous botch jobbing part-timers, did you not?

                  Or are you still amongst those who don’t know what a mixer tap or a dual flush toilet is?

            • 2trueblue

              The rickets, tuberculosis, food banks were in fact all part of Liebores legacy.

              We had irradicated TB in the UK prior to their 13yr reign. We now have 4 or 5 incurable types of TB. It was so uncommon in this country that doctors failed to diagnose it. Funny how the initials are the same as their great leader TB.

              We are broke because they were totally incontinent with our money. Anyway you will have to shut up complaining in 2015 when your masters come back to finish the job of totally wrecking the country. Enjoy.

              • David Lindsay

                And where will you go then? Romania? Bulgaria? What on earth makes you think that people from there would want to come to the country that you describe?

                • 2trueblue

                  Are you a total idiot? They will come because they can earn more, save, and then return to their own country and have a better standard of living, or maybe stay.
                  The TBs in question originated in eastern Europe and Africa, and it is now a problem in lots of countries, including the US.

                • David Lindsay

                  No, they cannot. That is just not Coalition Britain, which is now the byword for extreme poverty even within the American Republican Party.

                • 2trueblue

                  You obviously know nothing about the conditions in either of the countries.

                • David Lindsay

                  You obviously know nothing about the conditions in this country.

                • 2trueblue

                  You really are a total moron.

                • David Lindsay

                  Point proved.

                • History Lover

                  Any bad conditions in this country were brought about by Labour and the Coalition is doing its best to clear up the mess. The people of this country are having to suffer for the idiots who voted Labour in 1997.

              • History Lover

                Absolutely spot on,
                I couldn’t have put it better. They are utterly shameless, the party who stopped inoculating teenagers against TB

    • an ex-tory voter

      Simple, because the benefits are vastly greater than those available in their own country.

      • David Lindsay

        For now.

        And anyway, really? You could have fooled an awful lot of people in the Bullingdon Boys’ Britain. A lot which grows significantly every week.

        • 2trueblue

          Cheer up, your lot will be back in soon and you can enjoy life as they laid the foundations for you.
          Look how well the wee lad from Fetteys….. did for himself.

          • David Lindsay

            I do that already.

        • an ex-tory voter

          I don’t recognise the phrase “Bullingdon Boys Britain” and I see no significant cuts in benefits. But, I do see a Labour Party which wants to award benefits claimants a higher pay rise than those poorly paid workers whose direct and indirect taxes support them.
          However, I do recognise the term “champagne socialists” and I do know that a high percentage of the Labour front bench were privately educated and many are millionaires. Privileged people from a privileged class, pretending to be working class and all the while working to deny others the advantages that they themselves benefited from.

          • David Lindsay

            60 per cent of the population now identifies as working-class, up from a mere 24 per cent this time last year. That amount of shift, in only 12 months. And there are still two and half years left to go before the next General Election.

            Nor are we talking about working-class Thatcherism here. These are people who take one look at the Tories and define themselves as starkly against them as possible by professing to be working-class.

            Anyone who did not inherit £30 million, like Cameron, or have one of the largest cities in the country named after her family, like Mrs Cameron (née Sheffield), is now Pleb and Proud. Doubtless with every intention of voting accordingly, especially now that there is no Lib Dem alternative.

            We are already talking about three out of five people. With half of this Parliament still left to go.

            • History Lover

              Define working class? Someone who works for their living as I understand it. Well the Queen is well over 60 and she is still working for her living and David Cameron certainly does. Class should be defined by the values and principles of the of the person concerned. By that definition I think Labour come out somewhere near the bottom

          • 2trueblue

            You are absolutely right on so many counts. What these people forget/are unaware of/too dim to consider, is that if you are employed you have to travel to work and that costs money. It is wrong to try and draw any comparison between the two.

        • 2trueblue

          Why don’t you get a job with the BBC? you are a natural. The BBC are the biggest supporter of your masters and you would be so comfortable there.