The present government is pledged to cut net migration to tens of thousands. This requires something like a two thirds cut in current levels. Vote Leave argued for slower rates of inward migration than now, with a fair system offering the same restrictions on EU migrants as the rest of the world.
Yesterday in the Commons the Opposition proposed a motion to reassure all EU citizens living in the UK but from another EU country that they may stay after Brexit. Vote Leave asked for such an assurance. It is implied by international law. The UK would be rightly scandalised and seeking to mobilise international law and world opinion if one of the other EU states threatened UK people legally settled in their country.
I explained to the whips that I would not help vote down the Opposition motion, and wanted the Home Secretary to accept it. For some unknown reason she seemed to think the future of EU residents in the UK could be a matter for negotation. Parliament duly approved the Labour motion, so I presume she will now have to change her policy.
Meanwhile I have also proposed that she makes a statement telling EU migrants arriving post the referendum vote that we are introducing a new system which they will need to comply with as soon as it is in place. The Home Secretary needs to make clear that we cannot accommodate a rush of people wanting to gain citizen rights, so she needs to get on with changing the law as soon as possible and defining transitional arrangements to give us reassurances.