Theresa May blasted for lauding the end of free movement for Britons across EU

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Theresa May blasted for lauding the end of free movement for Britons across EU
Photo: AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May is busy trying to sell her Brexit deal by lauding the fact it will bring an end to free movement but preventing Britons from being able to freely move abroad and settle in the future has not gone down well with those who have taken advantage of the right in recent years.


British PM Theresa May is under fire from all sides as she launches her sales drive to persuade British MPs and the British public to back the controversial Brexit deal she has agreed with Brussels.

May believes that the deal's biggest selling point is ending the freedom of movement between the EU and Britain which is included as part of the draft declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The British PM believes the move adequately reflects the result of the 2016 referendum in the UK when 52 percent of the public voted to leave the EU.

Theresa May provoked fury this week when she claimed the end of free movement would mean EU citizens will no longer be able to "jump the queue" ahead of skilled immigrants from other countries.

But while the British PM has lauded the fact EU citizens will lose the right to freely work and settle in the UK, she has spoken little of the fact that Brits will also almost certainly lose the right to move to another EU member state.

Answering questions in parliament this week May was dismissive, insisting that Britain will end free movement and said other countries could do what they wanted.

But given the reciprocal nature of the negotiations, EU countries will almost certainly take back control of their own borders to prevent Britons moving freely to live and work in the EU after the transition period ends in December 2020.

And that has angered many.

Leading the angry reaction to May's stance and her choice of words was campaign group British in Europe who fired off a letter to the Prime Minister this week.

"We now know that you never had any serious intention of protecting our free movement rights because your overriding objective in going ahead with Brexit is to end them.

"And then you pretend – in a promotional video (see below) to sell the agreement – that you have negotiated the end of free movement for EU27 citizens into the UK whilst retaining visa free access to the EU for British citizens.

"As you well know, British citizens will lose free movement too and need a visa to study, live or work in the EU27 but they won’t realise that from your government propaganda."

Taking the PM to task for suggesting EU citizens in the UK were "queue jumpers" British in Europe added: " You tried to set up a nasty 'them and us' comparison with non-EU citizens and you cynically refused to recognise that EU free movement is not the same concept as immigration and is a two way street: the same rights that enable a Spanish surgeon to work in Surrey allow a Scottish surgeon to work in Salamanca."

And across Twitter there was also an angry reaction towards the loss of freedom of movement that so many Britons have benefited from over the years, including the estimated 1.2 million UK citizens currently living in the EU.

On Friday members of the public were bombarding Radio 5 live with questions for the PM, who was taking part in a live Q&A on the subject of her Brexit deal.

Many questions were from people asking her to explain where was the benefit in stripping young people of the right to move and live freely around the EU?

Theresa May will be in Brussels on Saturday to try to complete negotiations on the withdrawal agreement in advance of the extraordinary summit with EU leaders on Sunday.

But the Prime Minister's Brexit deal will still have to get the green light from the British parliament when MPs take part in a meaningful vote on in in mid-December.

The numbers suggest she doesn't have enough support to back the deal and if it's rejected that the chances will increase that the UK could crash out of the EU on March 29th without a deal.

That would bring a much swifter end to free movement than the British PM envisages, but it's unlikely even she would celebrate that.





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Anonymous 2018/11/26 19:48
I'm going to post this comment (edited) on the fisheries article elsewhere in the Local
Anonymous 2018/11/26 19:47
I'm going to post this comment (edited) on the fisheries article elsewhere in the Local
Anonymous 2018/11/26 18:48
Of course the same applies to other nations' fish stocks and exploitation of stocks. When the British fishermen went to try to deprive the French of their scallop harvest - which is determined at the time of optimum growth after the breeding cycle has completed - the Brits went before the Coquilles Saint Jacques had reached full size, and prevented quite some from breeding, potentially damaging future harvests...<br />This is an example whereby autonomy over managed stocks must be respected, and of course the assets belong to the host nation, before others are invited to share in the 'recolte'. The same applies to scottish herring, salmon or lobster...<br />This is just an indication how tricky negotiations are and how they must be approached in a spirit of solidarity, ecology, sustainability and preservation. With good neighbourliness - a European principle - this is understood. But a spirit of competition, of pugnaciousness, of dissonance, can only exacerbate problems that have brought this world to the state of dire calamity, through brinkmanship and leadership based on vying and jostling for the top place. This is the sad flaw in the human race, that the European Union, and the WTO, was envisaged to overcome and compensate for... <br />If we as Brits are to leave the Union, we should not lose sight of our own evolution as human beings, or leave the spirit of uniting in our common humanity on this, our one single planet, a brilliant jewel, orbiting our one, single, beautiful sun. We must take care, and share, what we have, rationally. If we are leaving the union, we need to learn how to communicate among ourselves, so we can come to the table with our European cousins as wise statesmen, not squabbling, egotistical children, exploiting our own people and anyone else we can take advantage of.
Anonymous 2018/11/26 18:23
This is the first time I've seen English speaking media concern itself with Briton's freedom of movement. The referendum was not about denying access to EU citizens in UK or vice versa. It seems we've lost all the perks, none of the bills or responsibilities, all the freedoms, none of the obligations, all say in our future (not if, when we cede the right to manage fish stocks in UK waters by means of factors to do with conservation, and nmot a virtual limiit based on a bureaucrats estimate of supply, Each year, season, climate change, feeding and breeding cycle is different. North Sea and Scottish Fisheries should have an on going final say over British waters, not Brussels or the British govt. Future frish stocks affect all of us and are the responsibility of those who've always taken care of them. Fishing is a delicate balance, like agriculture, energy, ecology. It is not a bargaining chip, quotas divvied up, compensation for a bad Brexit deal. Each country is responsible for its own coastal waters.<br />

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