DOWNING STREET insisted yesterday that free movement of labour from the European Union will end in March 2019, as the Prime Minister sought to quell ongoing divisions in her cabinet.
Tory dissent continued over the weekend after International Trade Secretary and leading Brexiteer Liam Fox dismissed suggestions from Chancellor Philip Hammond that EU migration could continue under a similar system to the current one.
Mr Fox retorted that unregulated free movement after Brexit would “not keep the faith” with last year’s EU referendum result, adding that the Cabinet had not yet come to a decision on immigration.
But yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman attempted to appease unrest in her party stating that “free movement will end in March 2019.” The spokesperson confirmed that there will be a registration system for migrants arriving after that time.
In an apparent jab at Mr Hammond, Ms May’s spokesperson said it was “wrong to suggest” that freedom of movement could continue as it does now.
The Prime Minister’s intervention came as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s spokesman dismissed suggestions that he would quit over how Brexit was being handled by the government.
He accused Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable of “making this stuff up.”
The latest round of Brexit squabbling was criticised by shadow treasury chief secretary Peter Dowd who accused the government of “breaking down into farce.”
The chair of Left Leave Rob Griffiths remained sceptical about the Tory position on freedom of movement. He claimed that the party was under “enormous pressure from big business to guarantee its freedom to super-exploit migrant workers” and said it was “very difficult to believe that May and Hammond will disobey clear orders they’ve been given to maintain free movement.”
He told the Star that the Tories are likely to try and come to a deal which permits the free movement of Labour from the EU.
“It’s very important that the EU Court of Justice has no further jurisdiction over this matter, given a series of previous rulings to uphold the right of large corporations to superexploit posted workers,” he said.
Mr Griffiths added that future involvement from the ECJ on this matter could stop a future Labour government from ruling to protect migrant workers from exploitation, and uphold wages and conditions.