Britain’s borders could stay open with uncontrolled mass migration continuing from the European Union (EU) for years after Brexit, the Prime Minister has said.
Theresa May claimed an “implementation” period would be needed after the two-year Article 50 divorce phase for agreeing a new deal ends. Business and governments would need a “period of time” to adjust to any new settlement, she said.
Reporters had asked Mrs. May directly if she could rule out free movement during such a transitional period after Brexit on the second day of her tour of the Middle East.
According to The Telegraph, she replied: “You’ve used the phrase transitional phase; I have used the phrase implementation period.
“Once we’ve got the deal, once we’ve agreed what the new relationship will be for the future, it will be necessary for there to be a period of time when businesses and governments are adjusting systems and so forth, depending on the nature of the deal – but a period of time when that deal will be implemented.”
The Prime Minister insisted the UK would eventually have “control of its borders and control of immigration” after leaving the EU, but would not set a concrete date.
Separately, in an interview with Sky News, Mrs. May said: “What’s important is that when we leave the EU, people know what the future relationship is.
“It’s common sense, it’s pragmatic for people, it’s pragmatic for businesses, and I believe that’s what we will be working for and it’s what both sides will be working for.”
At the end of last month, it was reported that the EU was plotting to demand the UK keeps its borders open to free movement for another two years.
The claim emerged from a seminar of senior officials chaired by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Paul Nuttall, leader of UKIP, said: “By voting to leave the EU, the British people asked the government to reduce the high levels of immigration that see a city the size of Hull and Newcastle come to the UK each year.
“The fact that the Tories won’t even specify how long the period of open-door immigration will continue after we have left the EU sets alarm bells ringing.”