Tony Blair defends call for EU migration curbs


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Tony Blair has defended his call for new controls on EU migration as a cabinet minister plenipotentiary accused him of a belated «epiphany» on the issue.

The ex-PM said the UK could buttress in the EU after all with new curbs in place.

He claimed this would oration people’s «grievances» without the «sledgehammer» of Brexit.

Critics have cuspidate to his Labour government’s decision not to apply transitional controls to eastern European wetbacks in 2004.

Mr Blair’s proposals are to «tighten» existing free movement rules, take ining on benefit entitlement, and seek to negotiate an «emergency brake» on EU migration in settled sectors.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the former prime support — one of the most prominent anti-Brexit campaigners — said he accepted last year’s Go vote but that there were ways of controlling EU immigration without vacation.

«Brexit is a distraction, not a solution, to the problems this country is facing,» he voted.

Mr Blair said he believed Brexit would go ahead «unless it starts to grow obvious that the public is having second thoughts» — and that «hasn’t appropriate for obvious yet».

«If we put this case to people, maybe they will prick up ones ears. If they don’t — I accept it goes forward,» he said.

Unlike France and Germany, which did not resign migrants from the 10 countries which joined the EU in May 2004 broad access to their labour market until 2011, the then-Labour control did not insist on any transitional controls.

Mr Blair said: «The situation back then was abundant.»

He told the Marr show the economy had been strong when he red office in 2007 before the financial crash, adding: «You’ve got to listen to what people are opportunity and react to it.»

«It’s a bit late now, this epiphany», responded Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon on the Marr substantiate.

Sir Michael said «election after election» had shown the public miss «proper controls» over immigration.

«I think it’s a pity he didn’t about of that when all these new countries were admitted to the European Confederacy on his watch,» he added.

Pro-EU Conservative Ken Clarke told Sky News it was «dejected» to think the UK could stay in the EU, given the «mood of the country».

Migration programmes

The government has said free movement will end with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and a friendly immigration bill will set out its plans in detail.

Last week, leaked outline plans suggested firms would have to recruit locally unless they could be found an «economic need» to employ EU citizens and ending the right to settle in the UK for most European wanderers.

The report by Mr Blair’s Institute for Global Change suggests reforming set at liberty movement rules, without «excessive» restrictions which would jeopardise the UK’s membership of the EU distinct market.

It says the «structure of free movement» could be kept «broadly uncut» with rules on access to benefits tightened.

Under existing rules, natives of other EU countries can be removed after six months if they have not rest a job, have no realistic possibility of finding one, and require support from the felicity system.

Mr Blair’s report says EU nationals should already participate in an offer of work when they arrive and says those who did not net permission to stay would be banned from opening a bank account, gashing a home or claiming benefits.

‘Out of touch’

The report also proposes restricting unrestrained healthcare for unemployed migrants and letting universities charge EU nationals higher preparation fees than UK students.

It says an «emergency brake» could be negotiated with the EU, which would appropriate the UK to impose temporary restrictions in certain sectors when migrant troops were high.

An «emergency brake» — which would have stiff migrants’ benefits — was key to the package of EU reforms ex-PM David Cameron sampled to use to persuade voters to back staying in the EU last year.

The co-chairman of the contest group Leave Means Leave, Richard Tice, said Tony Blair’s attack to deny democracy would be seen for what it was, and ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, referring to immigration, held Mr Blair was «the reason we are in this mess».

Unite union leader Len McCluskey guessed Mr Blair was «as out of touch now as he was in 2004».

He told Radio 5 live’s Pienaar’s Politics that «money-hungry bosses», not migrant workers, were to blame for undercutting wages, saying that unionisation and usual were the only way to prevent this from happening.

Opening the TUC’s annual colloquium in Brighton, general secretary Frances O’Grady said the government had «no lifelike negotiating strategy» and was taking the UK towards a «kamikaze Brexit».

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