The UK’s Brexit secretary has indicated the Tory government is leaning towards a “soft Brexit”, saying he may maintain low-skilled migration and is prepared keep contributing to the European Union’s (EU) budget for “access” to Single Market.
David Davis said last night that he is concerned about labor shortages after Brexit, The Times reports – a strong sign the government is giving into to pressure from anti-Brexit campaigners to maintain open borders.
Mr. Davis told a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) dinner in Wales that “Britain must win the global battle for talent. No one wants to see labor shortages in key sectors.”
He claimed the government would be “ending free movement as it has operated before”, but would not, “do so in a way that it is contrary to the national and economic interest…”
Furthermore, unnamed cabinet ministers reportedly told The Times the government could revive the agricultural workers’ scheme after Brexit, allowing low-skilled migrants in for seasonal work in agriculture.
Mr. Davis has been a long-standing Eurosceptic. Yet Nicky Morgan, the anti-Brexit former Conservative cabinet minister, who wants to retain a close relationship with the EU, praised his remarks.
She said: “We’ve always said we must not fatally undermine the economy and I welcome the fact that ministers are taking that on board.
“We know that there are concerns from business and public services and it is encouraging that David Davis is clearly listening to what they have been saying.”
However political donor and Leave.EU founder Arron Banks said: “They have all lost the plot — Brexit was fought and won on immigration. When people discover that the Conservative Party are betraying their confidence, there will be hell to pay.
“I’m astonished that David Davis has been tamed so rapidly by Theresa May and Philip Hammond. It didn’t take long for a cushy ministerial job to convert him.
“And to suggest that low-skilled migration might continue after Brexit – on the day that we’ve seen record net migration figures – beggars belief.”