UK

Andrew Neil Schools Lord Lord Willetts Over Plans To Cut Migrants Benefits

10/12/2015 15:13 GMT | Updated 10/12/2015 15:59 GMT

Andrew Neil shut down former Universities minister Lord Willets during Thursday’s episode of ‘BBC Daily Politics’.

The presenter and politician discussed David Cameron's plans to deprive some EU migrants of certain welfare benefits.

"The essential issue here is residency of the EU - that's what the EU stands for - its residency of the EU and if you move from one part of the EU to another part, you’re entitled to whatever the residents of the part are entitled to," Neil said.

andrew neil

Andrew Neil and Lord Willets discuss EU migrant benefits

Neil opened the debate using Polish migrants as an example of those who will be affected by the cuts. "Hundreds of thousands of Polish migrants [are] now working in this country, but they still have votes back in Poland. Why would the Polish government agree to cut their welfare benefits?"

Willets responded: "A Polish government might think it was in the interests of Poland and the rest of the EU to keep Britain in the EU. They want us to stay part of the system and also I'm sure they will understand that we have a very unusual problem. Most EU countries have a contributory welfare system.

"We don't, that's why migrants in Britain can claim benefits that they wouldn't be able to claim in many other countries so its only fairness that we tighten up our systems so it operates in the same way that their systems do."

Neil said: "If there's any sense in which the in-work benefits discriminated against EU migrants that wouldn’t stand the test of the EU courts would it?

"A fundamental essence of the EU is lack of discrimination no matter where you come from… we are going to discriminate those who come here to work."

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Prime Minister David Cameron met with the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo on Thursday to discuss terms for the UK's renegotiation deal with the European Union.

He wants to be able to restrict welfare payments to EU citizens from certain countries, including Poland, who are living in the UK.