Free movement for EU citizens will end on day one of a no-deal Brexit, under new Home Office plans – despite warnings of chaos and of people trapped in legal limbo.
Priti Patel, the new hardline home secretary, is pressing for border restrictions to be imposed immediately on 31 October, even though no replacement system is ready, The Independent has been told.
Previously, ministers had intended to delay scrapping free movement until new rules are in place, with a bill stuck in the Commons and fierce rows over what those rules should be.
Sajid Javid, Ms Patel’s predecessor, had dismissed a day-one end to free movement as not “practical” for employers and others, saying: “There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period.”
The new plan may be viewed as part of efforts to force the EU into reopening Brexit negotiations, by signalling an uncompromising stance that would also cause huge upheaval across the Channel.
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