IDS accuses David Cameron of 'deceiving the public' over immigration claims in stinging attack
Iain Duncan Smith has accused David Cameron of trying to “deceive the public” over immigration as the fractured relations between the senior Tories continue to worsen.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary attacked the Prime Minister for suggesting elements of his renegotiation package with Brussels could curb levels of EU migration to the UK.
It comes after Mr Duncan Smith compared Mr Cameron to Pinocchio last night for claiming in a live Sky News debate that he would support the UK joining the bloc if it were not already a member.
The fallout has entered a second day after the ex-Tory leader reacted furiously to Mr Cameron's claim that he won a four-year ban on EU migrants accessing benefits in Britain.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain this morning, the Conservative leader also argued that Britain could send EU citizens home if they fail to find work.
But in a stinging rebuttal, Vote Leave's Mr Duncan Smith - who dramatically quit the Cabinet in March - said: “I’m astonished at these comments, which are deeply insincere - and a clear attempt to deceive the British public. The truth is that for as long as we are a member of the European Union we are powerless to control the number of people coming to this country.
“And yesterday’s damning Home Affairs report shows conclusively that even if EU migrants commit serious crimes, the Government is unable to remove them.
“On his claims about benefits - this is the worst kind of gesture politics. I know, because I was in charge of the department responsible for this area.
“EU migrants are legally entitled to unemployment benefits after three months in the country - and as to the ‘deal’ to address this after the referendum - the British people shouldn’t hold their breath.”
On Good Morning Britain, Mr Cameron admitted that reducing net migration “is a challenge” and insisted he understood people's concerns over immigration.
“It is made more of a challenge by the fact the economy has been growing and people are working here,” he said.
Speaking last night, the Prime Minister said that the net migration target “remains the right ambition” for the UK, but declined to say when he expected it to be achieved.
Instead, he said it would be “madness” to try to cut immigration by leaving the single market – an act that he claimed would be “trashing our economy”.