Downing Street denies Cameron ready to drop EU migrant benefit demands

Reports that David Cameron is ready to drop key demands over in-work benefits for EU migrants are "simply not true", Downing Street has said.

A number of Sunday papers have suggested the Prime Minister is prepared to scrap calls for a ban on EU citizens from other countries claiming in-work benefits until they have been in the UK for four years.

Number 10 dismissed the reports, saying Mr Cameron was still determined to deliver promises laid out in the Conservative Party manifesto.

The Prime Minister has previously made the demands as part of his attempt to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU ahead of a planned referendum, expected before the end of 2017.

Labour said he had undermined his renegotiations by failing to build alliances in the EU.

The Prime Minister is heading to Brussels on Thursday for the European Council summit where, over dinner, he is expected to emphasis that "levels of migration from the EU to the UK are a major concern for the British people", but will reportedly signal he is open to other solutions beyond the four-year ban.

The PM is attempting to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU ahead of a planned referendum. Credit: PA

Government sources have reportedly said officials will be told to find an option that meets British demands while also being "acceptable to all".

The initial proposal has won little support among other European leaders, with Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo earlier this week saying she did not "see eye-to-eye" with Mr Cameron.

A Government source said: "The Prime Minister is set to reiterate the point he made in his letter and speech last month - that what matters most is to fix the problems not the precise form of the arrangements.

"On welfare, he will aim to unlock the political will necessary to find a solution, effectively giving the green light to officials to work up a solution that would both deliver on the Prime Minister's objective of better controlling migration from the EU while also being acceptable to all."

Mr Cameron has previously conceded no deal will be reached at the summit, with the aim instead to seal a package of reforms in February.

Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo (right) said she did not Credit: Reuters

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn said the Conservative leader should focus on making the broader case for staying in the EU.

"The Prime Minister has been undone by his own failure to build alliances and goodwill through patient diplomacy," said Mr Benn.

"He chose to make benefits the centrepiece of his renegotiation, but it was never a good idea to reduce the whole future of our co-operation with Europe, and the jobs, investment, growth, security and influence it has brought us, to just this issue."

Number 10 said reports Mr Cameron will use this week's council to drop his four-year plan were "simply not true".

A Downing Street spokesman said: "As the PM said in his Chatham House speech several weeks ago: 'I am open to different ways of dealing with this issue. But we do need to secure arrangements that deliver on the objective set out in the Conservative Party manifesto to control migration from the European Union'."