Immigration chaos: New bill ‘won’t contain policy to reduce numbers’
THE Government’s immigration bill will not contain a new policy to bring down the numbers of people coming into Britain, a minister has revealed. The revelation has come amid reports that that the bill will be delayed a year because of cabinet in-fighting over its contents.
The Daily Express has been told that the bill is set to disappoint those who hoped that it would include a strategy to bring down the number of immigrants pouring into Britain.
The issue was seen as one of the key reasons that Leave won the historic EU referendum in 2016.
But despite the Government sticking to its pledge to bring the net migration figure down to less than 100,000 it is set to delay working out a new policy until after Brexit.
A minister has revealed that the bill will be aimed at “taking back control” of immigration from the EU but will leave new policy details for future legislation.
The minister said that the bill will be “like building a set of bookshelves without the books”.
“People will need to understand that it is the framework to take back control but the policies to fill the empty spaces will have to come in later.
“This is simply about taking back control.”
According to reports, Home Secretary Amber Rudd is holding the immigration bill back and is coming under pressure from pro-Brexit cabinet colleagues to bring it forward.
Privately, it has been claimed that there are fears Ms Rudd, a leading Remainer in the referendum, is trying to undermine a “no deal” scenario and stop the Government from walking away from talks if the EU continues to take a hard line.
The bill is crucial because Britain cannot leave the EU completely without having the legislative framework to bring back control of immigration from Brussels.
There are fears that immigration bill will not come before MPs before late 2018 or early 2019 to delay meaning it will not have time to be brought into law before the transition period is supposed to begin after 29 March 2019.
This would force Britain to have to agree to a transition period whatever the demands of the EU and prevent a “no deal”.
Richard Tice, the co-chairman of Leave Means Leave which has the backing of more than 50 Tory MPs, said: “The Government must accelerate all its Brexit plans not delay and be fully prepared to walk away rather than accept a bad late deal.”
Campaigners raised concerns over reports that Ms Rudd has said the pressure is off with immigration because of a small dip in figures.
Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “The Home Secretary is reported as saying that the decline in immigration has taken the pressure off the introduction of the Immigration Bill.
“As an excuse for delaying the bill this is absurd. A year’s fall in immigration from the EU tells us nothing about what will happen once the uncertainty is resolved. Numbers will very likely go up again with high youth unemployment and low pay in other parts of Europe being the driver.”
Last night (MON) Downing Street tried to allay fears that there will be a delay.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We will bring the Immigration Bill forward in due course. We want a system ready and prepared when we leave the EU.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Home Office said: “We are confident that our immigration systems will be ready for Brexit and have been working to develop the details of the settlement scheme for the three million EU citizens already in the U.K. — as well as the registration of new EU arrivals after March 2019.
“We will publish further details of this over the coming months, but the Government is currently focused on successfully negotiating the terms of the Implementation Period with the EU. The Immigration Bill will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows,” the spokesman added.
March 12th, 2018: Express