Fox: No deal agreed on free movement
Trade secretary says that any such move would ‘not keep faith’ with the referendum result
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has insisted the Cabinet has not agreed a deal to allow free movement of labour for three years after Brexit.
Dr Fox said that any such move would “not keep faith” with the referendum result.
He told the Sunday Times: “If there have been discussions on that I have not been party to them.”
The intervention comes after Chancellor Philip Hammond said there was “broad acceptance” in Cabinet of a post-Brexit transitional period lasting up to three years.
He said this would mean “many arrangements remaining very similar to how they were the day before we exited the European Union”.
Mr Hammond said there would be a registration system in place for people coming to work in the UK after Brexit, during the transitional period.
“If they come here to work after we leave the European Union, during that transitional period, the sensible approach will be to seek to register people so that we know who’s coming and who’s going,” he said.
Tory tensions were also on show as former Brexit minister David Jones branded Mr Hammond’s transition initiative “deeply dangerous” as he accused the Chancellor of “going on manoeuvres” while Prime Minister Theresa May was abroad on holiday.
“All this agitation by the Chancellor and his allies is hugely discourteous to her and undermines her authority,” Mr Jones said in The Mail on Sunday.
Pro-EU Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames praised the Chancellor, telling the newspaper: “He has restored discipline to the political infant class who want Brexit at any cost.
“Instead of mindlessly criticising him, they should thank him for putting a stop to what was in danger of becoming a pub brawl.”
The war of words came as an ally of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also criticised Mr Hammond’s plans.
Gerard Lyons, who was an economic adviser to Mr Johnson when he was London mayor, said a two-year transition period would work better.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: “Many of the ‘risks’ being highlighted about Brexit are perceived risks, not real risks.
“And a two-year transition would alleviate many concerns.”
Meanwhile, divisions in Labour over Brexit emerged as senior figures urged Jeremy Corbyn to commit to staying in the single market.
The Observer reported that opponents of quitting the single market may provoke a showdown at the party’s autumn conference by trying to force a vote on the issue.
All this agitation bythe Chancellor and his allies is hugely discourteous to her and undermines her authority. BREXIT MINISTER DAVID JONES
Liam Fox insists the Cabinet has not made a deal to allow free movement of labour.