Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps taken to task over immigration claims

PUBLISHED: 09:41 21 November 2014 | UPDATED: 09:41 21 November 2014

MP Grant Shapps

MP Grant Shapps


MP Grant Shapps has come under fire from a Polish-born Lib Dem councillor, over claims the Tories would seek to make free movement conditional on a shared standard of living.

Michal SiewniakMichal Siewniak

eartree Lib Dem councillor Michal Siewniak called the plan to exclude those from countries with lower standards “ridiculous” and questioned how it would work in practice.

The councillor also raised the prospect that under this rationale, UK citizens could be excluded from EU member states Germany and Austria.

On October 29 the Welwyn Hatfield Times featured a story, in which Mr Shapps insisted Tory plans to curb EU immigration would work, despite being told they were illegal by outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Asked whether curbs on EU immigration would hit British settlers in continental Europe, Mr Shapps said they would not and he told this newspaper: “We propose that the right of free movement should be conditional on an economy having roughly our standard of living.”

MP Grant Shapps has claimed the Tories will curb EU immigrationMP Grant Shapps has claimed the Tories will curb EU immigration

Reacting to the statement, Cllr Siewniak said: “I moved to the UK from Poland nine years ago.

“Like most migrants I moved for the right reasons.”

He added: “To suggest that only citizens of countries where the standard of living is comparable with the UK should be allowed in to work is ridiculous.

“What does it actually mean? How would you enforce it?

“What about tourists, are they going to be subjected to the third degree to make sure they are not sneaking in to work?

“How do you decide which countries qualify and which do not?

“And what about these European countries where the actual GDP is higher than in the UK?

“Does it mean that UK citizens won’t be allowed to benefit from the free movement to work in countries like Germany, Norway or Austria?”

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