David Cameron has given the strongest hint yet that he will seek tough new measures to curb European immigration if elected next year, ahead of an EU Referendum Bill debate today.
During a campaign visit to Rochester and Stroud yesterday, a seat the Tories are trying to hold following the defection of Mark Reckless to Ukip, the Prime Minister said he would have “one last go” at renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU, and focused on the need to reform immigration. Cameron is thought to be considering a points-based system to attract skilled workers as part of a renegotiation strategy under a future Conservative government. An emergency break option to halt migration to the UK from EU nations if it hits a certain level has also been mooted.
This new approach is thought to be a result of continued pressure on the Tories from Ukip, as Cameron seeks to position his party as the only option for tougher immigration rules.
MPs will have the opportunity to vote on an in-out referendum today as a private member’s bill is brought before the House by Tory MP Bob Neill. Labour is expected to vote against the motion while a Liberal Democrat spokesman confirmed the party expected “no more than two or three” of its MPs to attend the debate.