Labour has accused David Cameron of panicking over measures to curb benefits for migrants before controls on Bulgarian and Romanian workers are lifted in the new year.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the government was "flailing around" with its proposals to limit unemployment and housing benefit for new arrivals and bar for 12 months migrants who have been deported for begging or sleeping rough.
She said public confidence in Cameron’s handling of the issue has collapsed, as he had rushed out the measures before the restrictions are lifted on 1 January without thinking them through.
"The prime minister is playing catchup," she said. "Why has it taken him eight months to copy Labour’s proposal to make the habitual residence test stronger and clearer?
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Cameron panicking over Romanian and Bulgarian workers, says Labour