EU migrants will be given the right to stay on in Britain in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, according to leaked Cabinet papers.
The documents – seen by the Telegraph – set out plans to allow European workers to retain their current status, amid concerns over staffing shortages.
They state that the UK will “take the moral high ground” over the issue and will guarantee EU citizens’ rights regardless of whether Brits living on the continent are granted the equivalent status by the EU.
The move would see Europeans maintain their current access to NHS services and benefits.
The plans are part of series of ‘no deal’ technical papers, which set out the way forward if no Brexit agreement with Brussels is reached.
Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomed the guarantees for EU migrants, saying: “I have always thought we should make a unilateral offer in this area. EU migrants came here legally and the UK is not the sort of country that applies retrospective legislation.
“They should have broadly the same rights as British citizens — no better or worse.”
However, former Brexit minister David Jones said: “It’s got to be reciprocal.
“We have a large number of Britons in the EU and their interests have got to be reflected. We have got to look after our own people.”
SECOND EU REF ROW
It comes as pressure builds around the drive for a second Brexit referendum on the final deal, after business tycoon Julian Dunkerton ploughed £1m into the People’s Vote campaign.
Responding to a poll on the issue, Number Ten’s director of communications Robbie Gibb said on Twitter: “1.9 million Leave voters say they would now vote to remain.”
“But 2.4 million Remain voters would now vote to leave. The country hasn’t changed its mind #RoadtoBrexit”.
Hitting back, Tom Baldwin –a senior figure in the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“Better polls tell a different story. But if you’re so sure, give us a people’s vote and let’s test ‘the will of the people’.”
Mr Gibb replied: “As you know, the prospect of a second referendum would damage UK negotiations.”
The Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will travel to Brussels this week to continue negotiations with EU leaders.