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Immigration/Emmigration

Britain is ‘ready to give EU citizens free movement for years to come’

BRITAIN is ready to maintain free movement for EU citizens during a transition period lasting a number of years after the official moment of Brexit, reports have suggested.

Theresa May Free MovementGETTY          Downing Street has said Britain is ‘ready to give EU citizens free movement for years to come’


A report in The Times said Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to offer free movement for two years under a plan drawn up by Chancellor Philip Hammond, while The Guardian quoted “a senior Cabinet source” as saying that the period could last for three or even four years.

It is thought that Mr Hammond believes he has won support within the Cabinet for a transition to prevent disruption to business caused by a sudden “cliff-edge” move to new arrangements on March 29, 2019, when Brexit is due to happen.

 There was no immediate response from Downing Street to the reports that Mrs May is ready to see free movement continue beyond the due date for withdrawal from the EU.

“The Prime Minister reiterated that the Government’s overarching goal is for a smooth, orderly exit culminating in a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, with a period of implementation in order to avoid any cliff-edges,” said a Downing Street spokesman.

One of the attendees at the Number 10 summit, Francis Martin of the British Chambers of Commerce, made clear that a transition period is a priority for business.

Chancellor Philip Hammond Free MovementGETTY              The UK ready to offer free movement for two years under a plan drawn up by Chancellor Philip Hammond


“Our research shows clear support among the business community for the UK to reach a comprehensive agreement with the EU, and for a transition period which will prevent firms facing a cliff-edge,” said Mr Martin.

The prospect of multiple, costly, adjustments to trading conditions is a concern for many

Downing Street spokesman

“The prospect of multiple, costly, adjustments to trading conditions is a concern for many, so starting discussions on transition arrangements as soon as possible would go a long way to boost business confidence.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said: “If it is true that the Cabinet now accept the need for a transitional period to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit, it is a welcome U-turn from ministers and a big victory for the Chancellor.”

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg GETTY           Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who is unhappy with calls for a transition period


But leading Brexit-backing Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said that calls for a transition period were being used as a mask for attempts to overturn the result of last year’s referendum.

“If we are subject to the rules of the single market and the regulations of the single market, and subject to the fiat of the European Court of Justice, we are paying for the privilege and we can’t do free trade deals with the rest of the world, then we are in the EU,” Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Two’s Newsnight.

Ukip deputy chairman Suzanne Evans told the programme: “The people of Britain know exactly what they voted for. They voted to take back control of our money, our laws and our borders. If we have a transition period, we are not going to be able to take back any of those for goodness knows how long.

“We either leave on March 29, 2019 or we are held hostage to the EU for an indefinite period of time. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Michel BarnierGETTY           Michel Barnier demanded clarification on Britain’s position on the financial settlement


The row blew up after the completion of the second round of official Brexit negotiations ended in Brussels with “fundamental” disagreements remaining between Britain and the EU on citizens’ rights and a stand-off over the so-called “divorce bill”.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier demanded clarification on Britain’s position on the financial settlement by the next round of talks in August but UK officials, who are understood to be frustrated at Brussels’ own ambiguity on the bill, indicated they would not publish a position before autumn.

After four days of talks, Brexit Secretary David Davis urged Brussels to show “flexibility” amid what is seen by the UK as “unprecedented” demands for the European Court of Justice to enforce EU nationals rights in the UK that amount to “judicial imperialism”.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/831542/Brexit-latest-Britain-ready-EU-citizens-free-movement

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