U.K. Tories’ Immigration Cap Rhetoric Collides With Merkel View

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s
Conservative party intensified its immigration rhetoric, setting
it on a collision course with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
who said she won’t support a cap on free movement.

Britain’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon today said his
party is continuing work on proposals to limit immigration and
is looking for backing from European Union members including
Germany. The comments came after Merkel signaled she’d oppose
Cameron’s demands to end free movement of citizens around the
28-nation bloc.

The developments mark the latest step in the Tories’
attempts to fend off the advance of the anti-immigration, anti-EU U.K. Independence Party after several of its members
defected. Last year, Cameron pledged to hold a referendum on
leaving the EU by 2017 should he win next year’s general
election. He’s also promised tighter welfare rules for migrants
and a block on people coming from countries that join the EU in

Plans are “still being worked on at the moment to see what
we can do to prevent whole towns and communities being swampedby
huge numbers of migrant workers,” Fallon said in an interview
on The Murnaghan Programme on Sky News. “In some areas,
particularly on the east coast, towns do feel under siege from
large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits.”

Merkel won’t support an immigration cap, the Sunday Times
reported today.

Free Movement

“Germany will not tamper with the fundamental principles
of free movement in the EU,” Merkel said, according to the
Sunday Times. She said benefit abuse “needs to be resolved,”
the Sunday Times said.

Cameron’s political opponents accused him of putting
domestic political issues ahead of the U.K.’s best interests.

“When you talk about the free movement of people in
Europe, people have to remember it’s two ways,” with Britons
living in Spain, France and other EU nations, Energy Secretary
and Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, said on Sky News. “If we were to
pull up the drawbridge on the English Channel, the truth is,
British people wouldn’t be able to come and go. Freedom of
movement of people is very important.”

Fallon said the Conservatives are looking at outright
numbers of immigrants to particular areas. UKIP’s rise since
2010 threatens Cameron’s re-election chances. The party took its
first elected seat in the House of Commons this month in Clacton
in eastern England, following the defection of Tory lawmaker
Douglas Carswell.

Fallon’s comments speak “to the desperation of the
Conservative party,” Labour’s foreign-affairs spokesman,
Douglas Alexander, told Sky News. “The problem at the moment is
that we have got a government that’s spending more time
negotiating with its backbenchers than negotiating with European
leaders. David Cameron is so fearful of internal challenge on
the issue of immigration, and external challenge from UKIP, that
I think he’s letting Britain down.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Emma Charlton in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Craig Stirling at
Andrew Noel, Alex Devine

Source Article from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-26/u-k-tories-immigration-cap-rhetoric-collides-with-merkel-view.html
U.K. Tories’ Immigration Cap Rhetoric Collides With Merkel View
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