Theresa May has not yet discussed plans for post-Brexit immigration with her top ministerial team, Amber Rudd revealed today.
The Home Secretary accepted that the Cabinet had not talked about the issue and proposals might not be brought forward until after the UK and EU agree a final Brexit deal.
The Government has vowed to cut net immigration to below 100,000 a year, while the issue is thought to have been a major driver of the vote to quit the EU in 2016.
Ministers had promised to bring forward an immigration bill this year but Ms Rudd today said a draft proposal should appear towards the end of 2018 with a full bill next year.
Asked during a grilling by the Home Affairs Select Committee what the Cabinet position on future immigration was, Ms Rudd said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It is for the Prime Minister to decide that.”
After Labour chair of the committee expressed her astonishment that the Cabinet had not discussed the issue, Ms Rudd blamed timetabling set by Brussels.
“These negotiations with the European Union have been sequenced in a way that hasn’t allowed that debate to take place yet,” she explained.
“The focus has been, as you are aware, for the past few weeks, few months on the element of getting through to the implementation period and also on citizens’ rights.”
She added:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“There will be plenty of opportunity for discussions as the negotiations go forward.”
An astounded Ms Cooper replied:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It is slightly baffling that there isn’t more of a plan as to what should happen on immigration.”
Asked about the Tory pledge to cut net immigration to “tens of thousands” per year, Ms Rudd said it she was committed to reaching “sustainable levels” of those coming into the country but refused to set out specific plans.
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