UK & World News
IDS Wants Two-Year Ban On Migrant Benefits
EU immigrants may have to wait for up to two years to claim benefits in the UK - rather than the current period of three months, Iain Duncan Smith has said.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the Work and Pensions Secretary said he had been speaking to other member states including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands who were supportive of the idea.
He said Britain should ask migrants to "demonstrate that you are committed to the country, that you are a resident and that you are here for a period of time and you are generally taking work and that you are contributing".
He added: "At that particular point ... it could be a year, it could be two years, after that, then we will consider you a resident of the UK and be happy to pay you benefits."
Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith stressed that he was merely expressing an aspiration for the future, rather than outlining a policy.
Rehman Chisti, Tory MP for Gillingham and Rainham, told Sky News: "We have to do is what is in our national interest and therefore we have to work with other European countries to ensure they understand that it is also in their national interest to ensure that people have to wait for a certain period of time before they claim benefits.
"We want a debate among European states to ensure that we come out with a policy which is fair to all. In my view, it is absolutely fair and proper that when you have EU migrants travelling to the UK they should stay here for a fair period of time before they can claim benefits."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron is under fresh pressure over Europe after 95 Tory MPs said parliament should have powers to veto laws from Brussels.
The backbenchers have written to him saying the Commons should have the authority to block new EU legislation and repeal measures that threaten Britain's "national interest".
According to the Sunday Telegraph, signatories to the missive - drafted by senior MP Bernard Jenkin - include James Clappison, Conor Burns, John Baron, Anne Main and former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth.
Another six apparently support the proposal but have not added their names - some because they are in government jobs.
Parliament currently has no automatic veto over EU laws, and the Prime Minister can only use the UK's veto to head off new rules in the most sensitive issues - such as defence and the budget.
A committee of MPs which scrutinises EU laws last month recommended that a national veto be introduced.
And the MPs' letter, sent to the Prime Minister this weekend, called on Mr Cameron to adopt the policy.
"Each time you have stood up for British interests in Brussels, you have achieved a great deal," it said.
"Building on your achievements, we would urge you to back the European Scrutiny Committee proposal and make the idea of a national veto over current and future EU laws a reality."
A Downing Street spokesman said: "We will of course study this idea closely. But we need to look at what it would mean in practice.
"We've always been clear that Parliament is sovereign and more power for national parliaments must be a key part of a new settlement, including a 'red card' power so groups of national parliaments can block unwanted EU interference."
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