David Cameron saw first-hand the aftermath of a dawn raid by immigration officers as the Government takes legal advice over its attempted EU benefits clampdown.
The Prime Minister was shown around a run-down property in west London yesterday, where up to 14 people had been living in a three-bedroom home. An illegal outhouse had been built in the back garden, where people slept on bare mattresses.
Three arrests had been made by the time Mr Cameron arrived at the property, after officers raided the terraced house at 5am.
The Prime Minister’s visit came as Ministers took legal advice to ensure new measures to stop EU migrants claiming out-of-work benefits during their first three months in the UK cannot be overturned by the courts.
After looking around the squalid rooms, Mr Cameron said: “I think the announcements today make a difference – because there is a right to go and work and take a job in another European country, but there shouldn’t be a right to go and just claim benefits.
“So we’re putting that beyond doubt to send a very clear signal that there’s no right to claim as you move around the European Union.”
Speaking later in the Commons, however, Shipley MP Philip Davies, a Tory Right-winger, told Mr Cameron the only way to get a grip on immigration would be to leave the European Union.
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s acceptance that something needs to be done to stop EU migrants accessing British benefits,” he said. “Would he agree that what he is proposing – which will probably be found illegal by the European Court – is really spitting in the wind when it comes to the problem we face?
“The only way to get back control of our borders and our benefits system is to leave the European Union.”
Mr Cameron rejected that assertion, however, giving his firm backing to people’s right to work around the EU.
“I do not share (Mr Davies’) pessimism, and we are taking these steps on the basis of legal advice, and looking carefully at what other countries do,” he said. “I want to do everything possible to ensure the right of free movement is not abused.
“There is a right to work in different countries of the European Union, but there should not be a right to claim in different countries of the European Union.”