BRITAIN should tell the European Union to “sod off” rather than pay benefits to Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants, according to a Southend MP.

James Duddridge, the Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, spoke out during a Parliamentary debate on whether taxpayers will have to foot the bill for thousands of poor migrants.

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will be eligible to move to the UK in December and, under EU law, claim benefits if they pass a simple residency test.

The European Commission, the law-making arm of the EU, has the power to fine the UK if it does not comply with the rules.

However, Mr Duddridge argued that was a risk worth taking.

He said: “No one has ever paid any of these fines.

“Please, please, please: just say no, tell the Commission to sod off and do not pay the fine.”

His outburst brought a swift reprimand from John Bercow, the Commons speaker, who told him to “wash his mouth out without delay”.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory secretary of state for work and pensions, said he would “skip the language and keep to the sentiment”.