Prime Minister David Cameron has stopped short of calling for Britain to impose a cap on the number of European Union migrants coming to work in the UK.
The Conservative leader gave a key speech on immigration last Friday, announcing a raft of “game-changing” measures to prevent migrants claiming benefits upon arriving in Britain.
“It is not wrong to express concern about the scale of people coming into the country,” he told an audience in Staffordshire.
“People have understandably become frustrated. It boils down to one word: control.”
But he risked the wrath of his own backbenchers, after retreating from the issue of introducing a quota system for people coming to the UK from the continent.
Proposals for a so-called “emergency brake” on immigration would have set Mr Cameron on a collision course with other European leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have previously said that tearing up freedom of movement laws would be contrary to the founding principles of the EU.
The idea had previously been floated by Downing Street but was conspicuous by its absence.
The Prime Minister now faces fierce criticism from Tory MPs, who have been dismayed by the number of people coming to the UK from countries within the 28-member bloc.
Only last week, any lingering hope that Mr Cameron would meet his own target to cut net migration to “tens of thousands” by 2015 was snuffed out with the release of the latest immigration figures.
The Prime Minister faced huge embarrassment after it was revealed that annual migration had in fact climbed to 260,000 – more than when the Coalition came to power four and a half years ago.