MPs have condemned of failing to set up new immigration rules that could repeat the “misinformation and tensions” of the referendum campaign. The cabinet could discuss proposals with white paper put away until the end of the year.
The Home Affairs Committee has alarmed over “rushed and highly politicized debate” over immigration as Theresa May seeks a Brexit deal. Yvette Cooper, the committee’s chair, declared:
Immigration was one of the central issues during the referendum and it divided the country, but sadly there has been no attempt by the government to hold any kind of sensible debate on it or build any kind of consensus on immigration since. The misinformation and tensions over immigration during the referendum campaign were deeply damaging and divisive.
Regarding the 2016 campaign, Vote Leave was accused of Ukip-style rhetoric as it was mentioned that Turkey and other countries would join the EU by 2020 which means millions of people can move to Britain. May has insisted that free movement will end while knowing that following this slogan would alienate Tories on one side of the Brexit divide.
This delay on immigration proposals has concerned pro-Brexit MPs that May would plan for another sellout on freedom of movement. Some government members believe that conceding ground is the only way to save trade deal while critics believe that it means “freedom of movement in all but name”.
Last year, ministers accepted that free movement of EU citizens would happen until the end of 2020.