UK proposes ending EU freedom of movement day after Brexit if no withdrawal agreement reached
The UK’s Home Office warned on Monday that the free movement of people between the United Kingdom and the EU will cease immediately on October 31, if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.
The plan, which had been written off by the previous Home Secretary Sajid Javid as impractical, is seen as part of a new effort on the part of his successor Priti Patel to force the EU into reopening Brexit negotiations, by signalling an uncompromising stance that would also cause huge upheaval in Europe.
Javid had dismissed the suggestion of a ‘day-one’ end to freedom of movement – as proposed now by Patel – arguing that there would have to be “sensible transition period” during which new EU arrivals could continue to work, according to the Independent.
After the controversy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the BBC that the United Kingdom does not intend to become a country hostile to foreigners with the departure of the European Union.
“It does not mean that we are going to stop everyone who comes to our country, nor that we are going to become a hostile country for immigration or immigrants.”
The announcement came on the same day that the EU rejected the letter sent by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asking them to eliminate the backstop to ensure there will be no border in Ireland after Brexit. Johnson proposed to change the current legally binding text to nebulous “guarantees” that “solutions” would be applied in the future to avoid the border. The EU asked the British to give concrete “operational ideas.”
The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, wrote on Twitter that “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it. “