Updated: 31/03/17 : 14:46:39
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This


Brexit architect says in Dublin EU citizens to "move freely"

Michael Gove, one of the chief architects of Brexit, has said he envisages that EU citizens will be able to "move freely" in and around the UK after the pull-out is completed.

Speaking in Dublin, the prominent Tory and former cabinet minister also claimed Britain will likely beef up its security presence around the European continent and rest of the world post-Brexit to safeguard its interests.

"One of the things that I envisage is, after we leave the European Union, EU citizens will be able to move freely into the UK," he said.

"It is just they won't have the same rights to work and secure access to public services and welfare benefits."

Mr Gove, now a backbencher, told the audience at an event in Dublin that Irish citizens would be treated differently from others in the EU, and would have the same rights to live and work in the UK as has been the case historically.

"This will allow people to benefit from tourism, it will allow people to travel freely, but you also ensure the critical pinch point in migration, which is access to work and access to public services, is controlled," he added.

Mr Gove said Prime Minister Theresa May will want to "keep her options open" in the divorce deal negotiations, but suggested his EU open access approach would resolve a number of issues surrounding migration concerns.

The option would also make it "perfectly possible" to prevent a hard border being re-erected in Ireland, which threatens peace and prosperity in the country, he suggested.

"There are different ways of proceeding when it comes to guaranteeing the right of Irish citizens and respecting Britain's desire to have its own migration policy, but also to be able to benefit from the talents and the presence of EU citizens," he said.

"Of course, the Prime Minister wants to keep her options open, but one idea which I find attractive is the idea that people from the European Union should be able to continue to come to the UK.

"But in order to work or to have access to public service, they need a valid work permit."

Mr Gove also predicted a ramping up of British security overseas would follow after it pulls out of the EU.

"It will be the case, I suspect, that Britain will have an even more powerful security presence, both on the continent of Europe, places like Estonia, and also in projecting power beyond the European continent in order to safeguard trade routes and our interests across the world," he said.

But he dismissed suggestions London will use its security clout as a bargaining chip with Brussels during break-up talks as a misinterpretation of the fact.

"(Brexit Secretary) David Davis has pointed out that if there is no deal, then current arrangements that benefit everyone in security terms would no longer exist," he told the Press Association.

"It was a statement of fact.

"I think the Prime Minister when she was home secretary played a leading role in advancing security cooperation across the European Union, she is personally invested in it, and it was a statement of fact, not a negotiating tactic."