Mr Redwood’s intervention during the Statement on the EU Renegotiation, 11 November 2015

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Do we not have to control our own borders in order to fulfil the popular Conservative promise to cut net migration by more than two thirds during this Parliament? Should not we decide what the rules are, and apply them fairly to the whole world, rather than distinguishing between Europe and non-Europe?

The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington): My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been completely consistent in saying that he accepts the basic principle of freedom of movement for workers, but that that should not become a freedom to choose the most attractive welfare system in the European Union. On our estimate, something like 40% of the people who are here from elsewhere in the EU are receiving benefits or tax credits of some kind, and action on that front will have a significant effect on the pull factor that our welfare system exercises at the moment.


  1. Antisthenes
    November 11, 2015

    There is only one way that we can control our borders and everything else and that is for the EU to give us back our sovereignty or if not we take it back. Cameron is not remotely trying to achieve that so this renegotiation is meaningless.

    The EU can give every member state it’s sovereignty back and still be a success. All it has to do is operate as a facilitator instead of what it is now a dictatorship. It will still have it’s euro-zone and political integration but only with states who willingly want to be part of that. Outside of that the rest will adopt what bits of the EU that best suits their national needs and ineterests.

    In the long run the EU will achieve it’s aim and become a superstate as members sign up to more and more bits of the EU but in there own time and when it is in their interest to do so. This will lengthen the time considerably that it will take but will have the advantage of testing what works and what does not. If the EU project is found unworkable which I believe it is then it is better to find out before total commitment or we will all go down with it together.

  2. Dennis
    November 11, 2015

    There are other pull factors which are never mentioned.

    If coming from parts of Africa or Asia I would love to escape from environments which
    plague me such as high heat and humidity, fleas, mosquitoes, malaria, dengue fever, ebola, droughts, floods, earthquakes, unsafe buildings, no running water, bad schooling, commercial, police and political corruption (worse than here) to

    Safe drinkable water running 24 hours from an indoors tap and 24 hour electricity supply, pretty good rules of law on housing, employment, road rules, free primary education etc., etc.

  3. formula57
    November 12, 2015

    So Minister Lidington’s answer to your two questions would have been “no” in each case, had he chosen to respond directly.

    So it seems the government will tinker with the welfare system in the fond hope that doing so might be some effective proxy for providing border control with admission rules devised to achieve the desired outcomes. Well, if that does not work, I cannot imagine what would!

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