Think-tank raises immigration fears

Efforts to control immigration into Britain could be seriously undermined by the European Union's draft Constitution, a right-wing think-tank has warned.

Migrationwatch claimed that the Government had little to show for its negotiations with other EU states over the Constitution's provisions on immigration and asylum.

The organisation's chairman Sir Andrew Green said: "The Government are keeping as quiet as possible on this subject - and for good reason.

"The British delegation have been ignored and we are now expected simply to sign up to European laws which have not yet even been drafted. When they are, they will be subject to Qualified Majority Voting, under which we will have less than 10% of the votes.

"It follows that the laws governing the protection of our borders and the right of foreigners to enter and reside in Britain will no longer be in our own hands. It is time that the Government set out honestly what is involved."

Sir Andrew claimed that no language has been agreed on the preservation of the 'opt out' which permits the UK to retain its own border controls.

The Home Office dismissed a research paper laying out Sir Andrew's case placed on the organisation's website.

In a statement, the Home Office said: "The Convention (which drew up the draft Constitution) will not affect our position on border controls. We have made it quite clear in the Convention that we plan to retain our frontier controls on people arriving from other EU countries.

"We will also retain the right to decide whether or not to opt in to asylum and immigration measures."

It continued: "However in the real world, the UK is a leading player in co-ordinating joint EU work against illegal migration where it is in the UK's interests, including on a shared EU database of asylum seeker's fingerprints (EURODAC) and sharing intelligence to tackle organised immigration crime."

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