Government Abandons Plans To Immediately End Freedom Of Movement

WaiterThe government has been forced to put on hold plans to immediately end freedom of movement for EU nationals after Brexit.

Home secretary Priti Patel in August said freedom of movement would end at midnight on 31 October, which would catch out any EU national who had not been granted settled status by this point.

However, according to an article in the Sunday Times, these plans have been scrapped after cabinet ministers received legal advice stating the move could undo no-deal planning and leave the government at risk of legal action.

A government source told the Sunday Times: “The legal advice was that this would not be an appropriate use of the powers and there would have to be an affirmative vote in both houses of parliament for it to happen.”

Jane Golding, co-founder of the British in Europe group, which represents UK citizens living in the EU, said ending freedom of movement on 31 October would have had consequences for British expatriates.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “When the home secretary made her announcement that freedom of movement would end abruptly, that caused us a lot of anxiety.

“The EU 27 are watching to see how their citizens are treated: that could’ve had consequences for how we were treated.”

She said a no deal situation would result in 27 different no deal contingency plans being enacted, which would mean there would be no coordination on healthcare or social security arrangements for UK nationals residing in the EU unless the UK negotiates these.