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Brexit minister: Some EU citizens may be forced to leave the UK

David Davis says there may be a cut off date for migrants who’ve settled in the UK.

David Davis was appointed to the new ministry by Prime Minister Theresa May this week.
David Davis was appointed to the new ministry by Prime Minister Theresa May this week.

SOME EU CITIZENS may not be allowed to stay in the UK after it leaves the bloc, the minister in charge of negotiating Brexit has said.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that he wants “a generous settlement for EU migrants here now and a generous settlement for British citizens in the EU.”

He dismissed suggestions the estimated three million EU nationals in Britain might have to leave, but said if there was a surge in arrivals before the deadline, the British government may have to set a cutoff date.

“We may have to say that the right to indefinite leave to remain protection only applies before a certain date,” he said. “But you have to make those judgments on reality, not speculation.”

A desire to reduce immigration from other EU nations was a key reason many Britons voted last month to leave the EU. Under the bloc’s rules, EU nationals can move feely among member states, and Britain has seen its population swelled by hundreds of thousands of new EU arrivals in recent years.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for refusing to guarantee the right of EU citizens to remain in Britain after a British exit — something that is more than two years away. She says she needs to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Britons living in other EU countries get the same right.

Britain’s vote to leave the EU has unleashed political and economic turmoil, as people and markets absorb the uncertainties about the country’s economic future as it leaves the 28-nation single market of 500 million people.

Davis said he believes the UK will be able to retain access to the single market while opting out of the EU’s right to free movement. EU leaders say that’s impossible, that the free movement of people is a key right, but Davis said “everybody is taking starting positions.”

“Of course they are talking tough,” he said.

If I was negotiating to buy your house or your car my first offer wouldn’t be my final one, would it?

Meanwhile, the government is seeking to reassure Britons that the UK can build strong and profitable trade ties outside the EU.

May said she spoke yesterday to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who expressed a desire for a free trade deal with Britain as soon as possible.

“It is very encouraging that one of our closest international partners is already seeking to establish just such a deal,” May said — although Britain can’t make any new arrangements until it actually leaves the EU.

Read: ‘If even one percent of London’s economic activities migrated here, we would be absolutely crippled’ >

Read: June saw a 20% increase in Irish passport applications from the UK >

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Associated Press

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