Examination of Witness

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:29 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Professor Peers:

It was, obviously, the Government’s choice to interpret the referendum results as an end to free movement. There were other options, such as signing up to the same sort of relationship as Norway or Switzerland have with the European Union, or trying to negotiate another variation on that—although I do not know how willing the European Union would have been to negotiate a variation other than the Norwegian version of free movement minus a little bit. Given that free movement was so frequently mentioned during the referendum, the Government felt that was politically necessary.

It is inevitable that we will get into legal complications once we end free movement, because we have a big category of people who have been here on one basis and we are saying that they will all have to transfer to another basis. We are talking about 3 million people, and equivalent significant numbers of UK citizens in the EU. That is bound to be an issue.