EU citizens to face ‘tougher criminality rules’ entering UK the day after a no-deal Brexit, say No10
EU citizens entering Britain will face “tougher criminality rules” the day after a no-deal Brexit, Number 10 have revealed.
It came as Downing Street confirmed freedom of movement “as it currently stands” will end on October 31st.
But campaigners said this risked a “large-scale Windrush scandal” as they accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of “setting fire to the British economy”.
It came after reports Ms Patel is said to want to shift from the position of her predecessor Sajid Javid and see border restrictions be imposed immediately after the UK exits the European Union.
Asked whether this was now Government policy, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson told a briefing: "Freedom of movement, as it currently stands, will end on October 31st when the UK leaves the EU.
“For example we will introduce immediately much tougher criminality rules for people entering the UK.”
They added: “Details of other changes immediately on October 31 for a new immigration system are currently being developed.
“The Prime Minister has obviously been clear that we want to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system."
Asked about the issue on a visit to Cornwall, Boris Johnson said the UK would not "become remotely hostile to immigration or immigrants".
The PM added that "immigration into the UK will be democratically controlled."
His spokesperson had confirmed the settlement scheme for EU citizens brought in by Theresa May would not be altered, meaning those with the right to permanent residence in the UK will still have until December 2020 to get their applications to stay approved.
But Maike Bohn, co-founder of the 3million campaign which represents EU citizens, hit out at plans for tougher criminal checks.
She told PoliticsHome: “This government is shamefully linking EU citizens to criminality at every turn.
“We demand that the PM delivers on his promises to EU immigrants rather than creating the toxic soil for a large-scale Windrush scandal by treating us as ‘guilty until proven innocent’."
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey told the BBC ending free movement on November 1 was “chaos gone mad”.
The former Cabinet minister said: “Priti Patel is almost setting fire to the British economy and British public services."
He added: "This new measure could inflict dramatic damage to our health service, to our schools, to our whole economy.
"This is not a way to govern. It's the most irresponsible, reckless form of government I think anyone has ever seen."
But a Home Office spokesperson told the Independent: “The Home Secretary has been clear in her intention to take back control of our borders and end free movement after 31 October.
“Ending free movement means we are no longer required to give unlimited and uncontrolled access to those from EU countries when they are coming here seeking to work.”