Sunning themselves: Cameron and Miliband jet away for the half term break

The rain falls mainly on the plane: Cameron and Miliband jet set for a half-term break.
The rain falls mainly on the plane: Cameron and Miliband jet set for a half-term break.
Ian Dunt By

David Cameron and Ed Miliband were making the most of parliament's half-term break today, with major trips to India and Europe.

The prime minister is on a lengthy trade trip to India, where he is trying to drum up support for British industry and alleviate Indian concerns around strict UK immigrations rules.

Cameron is accused of increasingly offering different messages at home and abroad when it comes to immigration.

While on the sub-continent he is telling Indian business people of relaxed rules for entrance while his ministers are at home promising a tough system for Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants when movement controls end at the end of the year.


Iain Duncan Smith is determined to implement a residency requirement for new immigrants trying to claim benefits, probably requiring them to stay in the UK for one year before they can access welfare. That would run counter to EU regulations and require negotiations in Brussels.

The balancing act of providing one message in India and another at home is potentially dangerous amid the Eastleigh by-election, where immigration is one of voters' top concerns.

Miliband is travelling to Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands with Douglas Alexander, in a bid to kickstart a more proactive European policy.

The trip inspired obvious references to Borgen, the Danish political drama currently bewitching Westminster insiders, with Labour strategist Stewart Wood tweeting that his boss was already having "Kasper Jul delusions".

The Labour leader is expected to meet Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's prime minister and daughter-in-law of Neil Kinnock. Her election was the first for a centre-left party in Europe since a tide of right-wing success on the back of the financial crisis.

Nick Clegg is not sharing the exotic travel arrangements of his fellow party leaders. While they are away he is giving a Mansion House speech on regional pay balancing.

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