Author: MACER HALL AND HARVEY GAVIN
Theresa May: An end to free movement is ‘non-negotiable’
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary Sajid Javid are expected to meet fierce resistance from Chancellor Philip Hammond to their plans for ending preferential treatment for EU citizens after the split.
Mrs May has hinted that her proposals for a fairer system would not grant “automatic rights” to European migrants.
Whitehall sources say the Cabinet remains deeply divided over immigration despite postponing an expected “white paper” policy document on post-Brexit rules for over a year.
Mr Javid is understood to be hoping to unveil the document next month.
One source said: “There is still a long way to go.”
Mr Hammond and other pro-Brussels ministers are reported to be fighting to keep the rules as similar to the existing system as possible in order to help businesses looking to recruit from overseas.
But in an interview last week, Mrs May signalled her plans could see an end to preferential treatment for EU citizens.
She told BBC’s Panorama: “What I’m very clear about is the message from the British people was very simple.
“It was they didn’t want a situation where they could see people coming from the European Union having those automatic rights in terms of coming here to the United Kingdom, and a set of rules for people outside the European Union.
“What we will be doing is putting forward a set of rules for people from the European Union and people from outside the European Union.”
Brexit news: Theresa May is facing a Cabinet showdown over her EU migration plans (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
Mrs May hinted her proposed system for EU migrants would not grant them ‘preferential treatment’ (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
Sajid Javid is understood to be hoping to unveil post-Brexit plans for immigration (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
Her comments come after Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month pledged that Brexit would bring an decades of uncontrolled immigration.
He told the Daily Express: “After we leave the EU we will end free movement and put in place an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK.
“We will ensure we are in control of our own borders but continue to attract those who bring significant benefits to the UK.”
Meanwhile, Mrs May will face further Tory divisions over Brexit today in the shape of a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The dossier will accuse the Prime Minister of making fundamental strategic errors in her approach to the Brussels talks.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is said to want to keep EU migration rules similar to as they are now (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
Sajid Javid explains new EU citizen protection scheme
The report, backed by former Brexit secretary David Davis, will outline a path to a Canada-style free trade agreement.
But Number 10 has insisted the Canada idea fails to solve the problem of the Northern Irish border or of factories which rely on prompt delivery of parts from the rest of Europe.
Mrs May’s blueprint for Brexit – the so-called Chequers deal – was shot down by EU leaders at a summit in Salzburg last week.
The Prime Minister returned to the UK and issued the bloc with a furious response – either treat the UK with respect and attempt to reach a compromise or force Britain to leave without a deal.
She accused the EU of presenting her with two “unacceptable” options of the Irish border but reiterated her commitment to attempting to reach an agreement.