Defence secretary in climb down following anti-migration gaffe

Kate McCann
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DEFENCE secretary Michael Fallon has been forced to admit he should have chosen his words more carefully, after claiming that British towns are “swamped” with immigrants during a television interview.

Speaking on Sky’s Murnaghan programme yesterday, Fallon said: “In some areas, particularly on the east coast, yes, towns do feel under siege from large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits and it’s quite right that we look at that.” He also refered to towns being “swamped by huge numbers of migrant workers”.

Last night, a Downing Street source said Fallon “accepts he should have chosen his words better”, adding that the defence secretary ought to have used the phrase “under pressure” instead.

Fallon was discussing David Cameron’s plan to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with Europe, which has centred on the free movement of people. Yesterday, German chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would not back the Prime Minister’s bid to limit the number of migrant workers entering Britain from the rest of the EU.

It comes as Cameron faces mounting pressure from MPs of all parties to reject a demand from Brussels for a £1.7bn top-up payment by 1 December. On Friday the Prime Minister said the EU “had another thing coming” if leaders expect the UK to pay up on time.

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