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PM urged to back bid to quit EU

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Tom Culshaw
Written by Tom Culshaw

DAVID Cameron has been urged to back the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) after planning to retreat from his plan to strip migrant workers of benefits.

 

The Prime Minister has failed to gain support from the rest of the EU, to curb benefits for migrants arriving in the UK.

Banning EU workers from receiving tax credits and other benefits until they have been living in the UK for four years was the key demand Mr Cameron.

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Downing Street has insisted the Prime Minister will pursue the four-year wait for in-work benefits, that is to be put forward at this week’s EU summit.

 

He is prepared to accept alternative proposals from Brussels if they cut migrant numbers.

Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told Sky News: “We were promised a major renegotiation, a total change with the relationship with our European neighbours.

“What actually is happening, he is like someone in a little dinghy, bumping along, being towed along by the enormous great Channel ferry.”

Mr Paterson described the idea of limiting migrants’ benefits as a “sideshow” that would not reduce the flow of immigration from the EU into Britain.

He said: “We’ve got to manage our own immigration policy.

“We need to make our own laws in our own parliament – and these demands are trivial.”

Further talks with EU countries will take place between now and February before the referendum on the UK’s membership in 2017

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Steve Baker MP, the chairman of the Conservatives for Britain campaign said: “The Government only asked for inconsequential changes. Even these are apparently now proving difficult.

“They are a million miles away from where they need to be. I think at this stage the Prime Minister must accept that even if he got all he was asking for it would achieve nothing that British public need. I believe he should now back the campaign to leave.”

However government sources have suggested Mr Cameron may be flexible on the issue in talks on Thursday.

A source said Mr cameron “is open to other ideas” but “is not taking it off the table”.

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