Suffolk: MP hits out at Cameron’s immigration policy and warns over large number of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria ‘piling in’

David Cameron visits UCS, Ipswich

David Cameron visits UCS, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

SuFFOLK MP David Ruffley has launched an attack on his Government’s immigration policy warning Britain is set to see large numbers of Romanian and Bulgarians “piling into Britain”.

The Conservative backbencher and MP for Bury St Edmunds said Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on the issue in Ipswich on Monday had not dealt with the lifting of curbs on the Eastern European countries and called for “tougher” measures.

He said: “If civil servants brief that it will be a relatively small number of Romanians and Bulgarians, I beg to differ. History shows that because we do still have one of the most generous benefits systems we are a magnet for freeloaders.”

He added: “We did not hear tough measures (in David Cameron’s speech) that were going to address that problem. What we heard was some modest proposals to make it more difficult for foreigners to come to Britain on some benefits tour.”

His comments come after joint chairmen of the cross party group on balanced migration, Frank Field, a former Labour minister, and Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative minister, said yesterday that Britain should be able to block immigration from other EU countries during the current period of high unemployment.

Temporary curbs were imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market, but those curbs expire in December and under EU laws cannot be extended.

The last Labour government vastly underestimated the numbers of people from the first wave of eastern EU member states who would move to the UK, nearly a decade ago.

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Mr Ruffley said: “Many people have gone back to Poland, but we cannot just keep on operating an open door policy because of the pressure on the NHS, schools, social housing, nursery places. My constituents get incredibly irritated at the thought of taxpayer funded free rides for migrants not making a real contribution to the economy. They are going to be nothing but a burden on our welfare bills and increasing demands for housing.”

Mr Ruffley also said that his front bench should be more aggressive in their fight against the UK Independence Party.

While he said he did not see the party as a threat in the local elections in his constituency, he said people voting for the UK Independence Party as a protest vote would split the right wing of politics.

He said: David Cameron has drawn some of the sting from UKIP by promising a referendum on Europe, but he needs to go harder on the referendum. If he does that, we can satisfy UKIP voters we are the only eurosepctic party that can deliver a referendum.

“By voting UKIP people are running the risk of letting Ed Miliband in. I do not think anyone wants Ed Miliband a raving pro-European, to become Prime Minister.”

“The Tories have got to be much more aggressive with UKIP. I am going to be much more aggressive with UKIP. They are a protest vote for people who want to stick up two fingers to the two main parties.

But he added: “I think in parts of Suffolk where it is Conservative versus Liberal, the liberal vote is going to fail. I personally do not think there are going to be catastrophic losses in May.”