Theresa May braced for fresh Cabinet Brexit battle over freedom of movement

Posted On: 
10th June 2018

Theresa May is facing a new round of Brexit turmoil as ministers clash over plans for the UK’s future migration system.

The Prime Minister's cabinet are reportedly at odds over plans for the UK's post-Brexit approach to migration.
Credit: 
PA

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has reportedly shelved a proposal drawn up by his predecessor Amber Rudd for a “labour mobility partnership” with Brussels, which would have seen EU citizens coming into Britain given visa-free travel after Brexit.

The about-turn will calm the fears of Brexiteers - but it puts Mr Javid on a collision course with the Treasury, which wants to give EU citizens preferential treatment in the hope of maintaining access to the bloc's markets.

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The Sunday Times reports that Mr Javid - who will on Wednesday flesh out the Government’s plans to grant settled status to EU migrants already in the UK - has shifted significantly from the previous Home Office stance.

A government source told the paper: "Javid has moved away from the Rudd position, which was [that] you come up with a universal system in which you find ways to favour EU nationals.

"Sajid is much more that we have a proper, universal system. There’s no favoured status for EU nationals, which is quite a big change and has an impact on the negotiations.

"Sajid does see this as an opportunity for us to wean ourselves off European migration and move to a more global stream of migration.”

According to the paper, plans to discuss the post-Brexit immigration system at last week's meeting of Mrs May's Brexit war cabinet were shelved amid fears of a clash.

Mrs May also risked anger from her new Home Secretary last night as she refused three times to endorse sweeping changes to the Government's "hostile environment" crackdown on illegal immigration.

Asked at the G7 in Quebec whether changes were needed in the wake of the Windrush scandal, which saw longstanding residents lose access to public services and face deportation threats, Mrs May demurred.

"If you talk to members of the public, what they want to know is that we are dealing with people who come to the UK illegally," she said.