Boris Johnson has ripped up Theresa May’s plans for immigration after Brexit – including her infamous pledge to slash annual numbers to “tens of thousands” – and ordered officials to explore more liberal rules.
In his first Commons statement, the new prime minister said advisers would work up plans for “an Australian-style points-based system”, declining to set any limit on migrants.
The announcement is a victory for The Independent’s Drop the Target campaign launched in April 2017, with the Open Britain group, for the “tens of thousands” policy to be scrapped.
Mr Johnson also repeated his support for an amnesty for existing migrants without documents, acknowledging it could see “perhaps half a million people” gaining the right to remain in the UK.
His announcement of a review cast huge doubt on the government’s existing immigration bill, which is meant to prepare the UK for life after Brexit and end free movement of EU citizens.
In the Commons, Mr Johnson made no mention of the bill, instead telling MPs: “No one believes more strongly than me in the benefits of migration to our country.