Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for new UK immigration rules to be put in place to keep Britain within the European Union (EU), while defending his own government’s open-door UK visa policy.
Commenting on an alternative strategy, Blair suggested that the introduction of tougher UK immigration controls would make it possible for Britain to take control of its borders back without having to leave the EU.
Blair’s recommendations were delivered as part of a report released by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which also called for EU migrants to register on arrival in the UK so numbers can be recorded and monitored.
Furthermore, the report suggested that access to free healthcare should be restricted for unemployed EU migrants, and argued that universities should be allowed to discriminate in favour of native Britons when they select candidates.
According to The Independent, the report seems aimed at provoking a change in the Brexit debate, perhaps in order to solve the current stalemate over supporting economy and immigration for both parties.
Tim Shipman of the Sunday Times mirrored this sentiment, stating that it could make “uncomfortable reading” for Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr Shipman added: “It makes clear she has not enforced existing rules that already permit the removal of EU migrants if they do not find work after three months in the UK.”
Many experts suggest the influx of migrants who entered the UK during Blair’s time in government could be to blame for the Brexit vote last year due to a national fear of unchecked UK immigration.