Sajid Javid braced for Brexiteer backlash over no-deal plan to let EU migrants stay in UK
Home Secretary Sajid Javid could face a backlash from Tory Eurosceptics today as he unveils plans to grant EU migrants unlimited access to Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
According to the Times, Mr Javid will tell Cabinet ministers that any EU citizen arriving in the UK between next March and September 2021 will be given the temporary right to live in Britain.
They will then have to apply for a visa under the UK's new, post-Brexit migration system, with Mr Javid reportedly arguing that the 30-month grace period will help soften the economic impacts of Brexit and allow time for the new migration system to get up and running.
But the move prompted anger from former Conservative leader and arch-Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith, who told the Times: "This shouldn’t take two years."
He added: "Having two years with nothing changed rather than a progressive tightening over that period is a cop out. If I were Sajid I’d push back against the civil service to do this more quickly."
In a sign of fresh Cabinet splits over Brexit as the row over the UK's future relationship with the bloc rumbles on, the Times reports that Mr Javid will call for Britain's final post-Brexit migration system to avoid giving any preferential treatment to EU citizens.
The move is likely to be challenged by Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark, who have warned that a tightening of EU migration could hit industries that are heavily dependant on migrant labour.
Since 2016, the number of EU citizens coming to Britain to find work has plummeted from 55,000 to just 37,000.
Mr Javid is set to formally unveil the plans for a 30-month grace period in the event of a 'no deal' on Thursday after briefing the Cabinet today.
His presentation comes after Theresa May vowed that the more than three million EU citizens currently living in the UK would have their rights protected if Britain fails to strike a deal with Brussels.
Speaking last week after her bruising Salzburg summit with EU leaders, the Prime Minister said: "I want to be clear with you that even in the event of no deal your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay."