EU freedom of movement is the subject of heated debate right now, with David Cameron putting forward reforms that would make it more difficult for EU migrants to claim benefits just weeks before our borders are opened to 29 million people from Romania and Bulgaria. As Tory MP Priti Patel said in her recent Conservative Home article: “If even a small fraction of the 29 million decided to live in Britain, the impact on our strained infrastructure and stretched public services would be profound.”
That is why it is significant that, according to The Times (£) and The Independent, Theresa May has delayed the publication of a report on freedom of movement, part of a series of Balance of Competences reviews. The government is reported to be embarrassed by the contents of this particular review, after much of the evidence they received was positive about freedom of movement, in contrast to the Government’s recent efforts to respond to widespread public anger about the burden placed on our welfare system.
This demonstrates how the political establishment is starting to tie itself in knots by attempting the impossible task of reconciling the concerns of ordinary voters with the constraints of EU membership. It’s a game of political Twister, with the Government having run out of anatomically possible next moves.
The first tranche of reviews was dismissed as a whitewash, so clearly the prospect of a report that praises freedom of movement when Britain is on the brink of a new influx in January was too much for the Home Secretary. Shortages of school places and the NHS stretched to breaking point are all ordinary features of life in Britain today. The panicked damage control underway at the Home Office shows that the politicians are finally becoming aware of how far removed they have become from the views of ordinary people.
By Get Britain Out