It’s not just Nick Clegg who is having a good long think about immigration at the moment: David Cameron is as well. He’s got a big immigration speech on Monday, which shows how spooked the parties are by UKIP that they feel they need to at least address the topic, even if they insist that they’re not adopting Nigel Farage’s terms of debate.
As he writes his speech, Cameron will probably have in mind the looming problem of how many Romanian and Bulgarian migrants are coming to this country when transitional controls lift at the end of 2013. If he doesn’t, he should, because that backbench debate from Mark Pritchard on this issue now has a date: 22 April.
In spite of the ‘lurch to the right’ on migrants after the Eastleigh by-election, MPs still want to hear details of how ministers are preparing for the change. Stewart Jackson, who introduced a private members’ bill on the Freedom of Movement directive in the autumn, says:
‘I hope that they will flesh out some of the proposals around protection for jobs and protecting public services, and telling the EU where to get off.’
There will be plenty of backbenchers who will want to speak in the debate, and not a great deal of good feeling towards the Home Office at the moment because of the way it dealt with the foreign criminals amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill on Monday. One backbench MP said to me: ‘This has done quite a bit of damage to Theresa May’s hopes for the leadership, saying one thing at a ConHome conference and then trying to talk out Dominic [Raab]‘s amendment in the Commons.’ And don’t forget that the PM suggested in February that the way Parliament had voted on the EU Budget cut had strengthened his hands in the talks: MPs will have taken that to heart for this debate.Tags: Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, Conservatives, David Cameron, Immigration, UK politics