David Cameron will seek to tighten restrictions on freedom of movement within the European Union, as Britain has virtually lost control of immigration within the bloc, according to Conservative Cabinet minister.
Sajid Javid, the first Asian man to sit in the Cabinet, insisted the Prime Minister would adopt a tough stance on the issue in his efforts to repatriate powers from Brussels to London.
His comments follow conflicting signals from Tory ministers over whether to attempt to limit future migration from within the EU. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, favours new restrictions, while William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, reportedly believes they would be “undeliverable”.
Mr Javid, the Culture Secretary, told Total Politics magazine that the party stood by its commitment to reduce net migration to tens of thousands by the time of next year’s general election.
But he added: “We do recognise that we as a country today have much more control over non–EU immigration – and we have virtually no control over EU immigration.
“That’s something that we’d like to change but that is much easier said than done at this point and requires renegotiating with our European partners and that’s something that Conservatives are committed to.”
Mr Javid said it was legitimate for voters to raise concerns about levels of immigration to Britain.
“If that’s what people are concerned about, politicians do need to listen and they do need to react. That’s something this Government is trying to do, it’s something the Conservative Party is trying to do. I think that’s very important,” he said.
Mr Javid also suggested that the country was ready for a black or Asian Prime Minister.
He said: “In Britain if you’ve got the merit and the energy I think anyone can achieve anything, regardless of their colour and their race.”