Brexit: Britain set to offer EU immigration deal ‘very similar’ to free movement (The Independent)
Britain is set to make an offer to the EU on future immigration which would see arrangements “very similar” to current free movement rules put in place after Brexit, The Independent has learned. UK negotiators would like to put the proposal forward to coincide with a European Council summit in June, in a bid to break a deadlock in Brexit talks.
The plan would see a high level of access to the UK for EU citizens in the future, but would leave the British government power to halt it in certain circumstances.
But it is likely to enrage hardliners who would see anything even mildly like free movement as a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result – on Saturday cabinet minister David Davis, who has fought for a harder Brexit, was reported to be on the brink of resigning over the UK’s apparently softening position on EU withdrawal.
It comes as a leaked legal experts’ report commissioned by politicians in Belfast concluded it will be impossible to stop people coming into the UK at will anyway, if Theresa May stays true to her commitment to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
The last week has also seen the government under heavy pressure to accept staying in an EU customs union – an arrangement which would align with the new offer on immigration rights.
News of the offer planned by British officials has been corroborated by sources in Whitehall and Brussels and would form a key part of the prime minister’s efforts to lock the EU into a deal on future relations.
Source: The Independent