Brexit Secretary Insists UK Will End Free Movement as MPs Push for ‘Soft Brexit’

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The Brexit Secretary and Shadow Chancellor have insisted the UK will leave the European Union (EU) Single Market, as Tory and Labour MPs call for a so-called “soft Brexit” after the general election.

After returning a hung parliament at the general election, leading Tories such as Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Chancellor Phillip Hammond are calling for less of a focus on reducing immigration after Brexit, The Times reports.

They argue the UK should stay in the single market to “protect” jobs.

EU leaders have made it clear that free movement and open borders must continue if the UK remains in the Single Market, Brexit Secretary David Davis explained on BBC Radio 4 Monday morning.

“During the referendum campaign, the leading lights on both sides – David Cameron and George Osborne… and Boris [Johnson] and [Michael] Gove on the ‘Leave’ side – all said leaving the European Union means leaving the Single Market,” he said.

“They certainly all said it more that once, so there is no doubt about that,” he added. “People voted for three things in essence: control of borders, control of laws, control of money – and in order to deliver that, you can’t do that inside the Single Market.”

Mr. Davis also referred to the comments of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who said during an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, that Labour would not seek to keep the UK in the Single Market.

He said: “I can’t see it even being on the table in the negotiations, I don’t think it’s feasible. But we’ve been clear all the way along, ours is a jobs-first Brexit, everything we can do to protect our economy. That must mean tariff-free access to the single market.”

Scottish Tory leaker Ms. Davidson, however, has said a “hard Brexit” must be reviewed after the election.

“I want to ensure that we can look again at issues like Brexit, which we know we are now going to have to get cross-party support for, and move to a consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave,” she told the BBC on Saturday.

“I think what’s really clear is that the Conservative Party, having failed to win a majority, now needs to work with others. And that means we can look again at what it is we hope to achieve as we leave the European Union and I want to be involved in those discussions.”

Flexing her political muscles after the Tories gained seats north of the border, she gave a thinly veiled threat to English, pro-Brexit Tories in The Mail on Sunday.

“Had it not been for Conservative gains in Scotland last week Jeremy Corbyn could now be prime minister: Nicola Sturgeon would be pulling the strings,” she stated.

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