Last month Amber Rudd said the Home Office didn’t have a position on post-Brexit immigration.
The revelation astonished MPs who accused the government of being in unprepared for exit day.
A row within Cabinet over how Theresa May should approach immigration in Brexit talks is delaying progress in policy-making, sources have told BI.
There is also concern that the Home Office doesn’t have the capacity to deliver the changes.
LONDON — A row within Cabinet over how Britain should tackle immigration in negotiations with the European Union is preventing the government from deciding what it wants from post-Brexit immigration.
Two weeks ago Amber Rudd revealed to the Home Affairs Select Committee that the Home Office had not yet reached a position on what it believed the best post-Brexit immigration system for Britain would be.
To committee chair Yvette Cooper’s visible astonishment, Rudd said that 21 months on from the 2016 Brexit referendum, the government had not decided what migration model it wants to work towards.
“At the moment, my commitment is to make sure the prime minister and David Davis have the information they need to get the best deal for the UK in their negotiations with the European Union,” Rudd told Cooper.
The committee was concerned by the apparent lack of progress in one of the most important areas of Brexit policy.
“Immigration was the biggest issue in the referendum nearly two years ago, and yet we are running out of time to have serious discussions in cabinet and in parliament about what we want our immigration system to look like in the future,” Cooper, the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, told Business Insider this week.
“The country needs answers now – the Government can’t just keep kicking the can down the road.”
1 year to go to Brexit. Is the Government ready? Not if this evidence is anything to go by. #1yrArticle50 ……THREAD pic.twitter.com/EoEssyeUEQ
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) March 29, 2018
Cabinet without consensus
Well-placed sources have told BI that Theresa May is trying to manage an argument between senior ministers over what she should offer to the EU in regards to immigration, in ongoing negotiations on the future relationship.
The row concerns whether Britain should incorporate preferential treatment for EU migrants into its post-Brexit immigration system. In practice, this would mean fewer obstacles in the way of EU citizens from migrating to the UK, compared to migrants trying to reach the UK from elsewhere in the world.
It’s between Theresa May — who is the most restrictionist prime minister in living memory when it comes to immigration — and the rest of the Cabinet, which is largely moderate and sensible.
A source with knowledge of Cabinet discussions told BI that ministers who want Britain to have close ties with Brussels after it has departed the bloc have pressured May to offer preferential post-Brexit treatment for EU citizens, in order see “what it can unlock” in negotiations, an example being greater market access. However, the Cabinet’s chief Brexiteers pushed back, arguing it would …read more
Source:: Business Insider