David Cameron said immigration would be at the heart of his proposed renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the European Union yesterday.
He was reacting to warnings from outgoing European Commission president Manuel Barroso that an “arbitrary cap” on EU migrants would breach the “fundemental principle” of free movement in the single market.
The Prime Minister said: “What we need in Britain is a renegotiation of our relationship with the European Union and then a referendum where the British people decide. I’m very clear about who the boss is, about who I answer to and it’s the British people - they want this issue fixed, they are not being unreasonable about it, and I will fix it.”
Mr Cameron was given the full support of Conservative backbenchers who are keen for the party to address the threat from the right.
Selby MP Nigel Adams said that if “Senor Barroso thinks what David Cameron is proposing on immigration is a historic mistake the he can’t go soon enough.”
And Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney said: “Mr Barroso will have to do a lot better than scare tactics and bullying if he wishes to persuade the UK to stay in the EU.“
The EU clash came as UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage visited South Yorkshire on the campaign trail for the police and crime commissioner by-election.
“This is a desperate Prime Minister. He has spent his whole political career arguing for EU enlargement and the free movement of peoples,” he said.
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