Mr Clarke appeared scornful of David Cameron’s drive to tighten rules on access to benefits, housing and healthcare.
He said the problem was that existing rules were not properly applied, and suggested the PM was letting Ukip set the agenda. Tory MPs have warned of the number of people who may arrive when Bulgaria and Romania gain full working rights across Europe on January 1.
Legislation to stop foreigners getting access to welfare as soon as they arrive is expected in next week’s Queen’s Speech. But Mr Clarke insisted: “Ukip have created a quite ridiculous scare about the ‘hordes’ of Bulgars and the ‘hordes’ of Romanians who are coming here which is total nonsense.”