Earned Citizenship

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Labour, Rotherham 12:31 pm, 20th February 2008

Did my right hon. Friend see the reports over the weekend that more Poles are leaving Britain now than are coming in? To treat fellow Europeans on a par with other immigrants is not right, because if the 800,000 British immigrants in Spain were to return home overnight, the pressure put on our social services would be extremely serious.

On the fee question, it is little more than we all pay at the frontier if we visit Egypt or Turkey. I welcome it as a gesture by people who come here to settle permanently, to show solidarity with the community they are joining. My right hon. Friend's statement is reassuring, which is important. The Opposition's language this afternoon has been intolerant, bordering on xenophobic.