UK ‘forced to move on immigration’ in return for trade deal

26 Jun 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Ministers may have to accept immigration compromises as part of the Brexit negotiations in order to secure trade deals, according to reports from government ministers.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s tough stance on Brexit is unlikely to occur regarding immigration, UK sources have told The Guardian, with continued political control from Brussels likely to remain as part of an agreement.

According to one official, there are only two viable options for the Prime Minister as she faces having to accept a weaker version of her initial proposal in light of opposition from the EU.

These two options include a high access but low control arrangement such as that held in the European Economic Area (EEA), while the other is low access high control and more like a traditional free trade agreement, such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

According to government sources, the former would potentially allow the UK to be members of the European Union’s single market in exchange for free movement, such as in the EEA. On the other hand, the latter would potentially lead to a significant reduction in import duties between UK and the EU, such as the CETA agreement the UK has signed with Canada.

“What we’ve seen post-election is that business voices that had felt bullied into silence pre-election are recovering their voice,” a senior official said.

“The economic arguments that had got lost in the last six months are now being heard again and those who had tried to railroad this by saying you are talking your country down are being given a run for their money.”