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Priti Patel wants EU free movement to end on October 31

Priti Patel (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Priti Patel (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Britain’s home secretary reportedly wants to enforce tough border controls for EU citizens on day one of a no-deal Brexit.

Priti Patel is pressing for border restrictions to be imposed immediately on October 31, reported The Independent. This move has been slammed by the Liberal Democrats, who accused Patel of being “completely detached from reality”.

“It is completely detached from reality and is next chapter in the never-ending saga of the utter mess they are making of Brexit,” Ed Davey, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson, was quoted as saying.

“What would this mean for EU citizens who have made their home in the UK who have travelled abroad when they try to return?

“Are the government seriously suggesting an NHS nurse who is an EU national may not be allowed to return to the country if they happen to have been on holiday? It is absurd.”

According to reports, Patel believes this immigration shake-up can be brought in through secondary legislation in a way that would bypass MPs of all parties who would oppose it.

Officials have already been dispatched to Singapore to “understand how a well functioning immigration IT system is developed”, including how to “count people in and out the country,” a source told the Telegraph.

Patel’s move is a shift from the position of her predecessor, Sajid Javid, who had said a day-one end to free movement was not “practical.”

“There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period,” he had said.

Meanwhile, a Home Office source said Patel wants to “toughen” the department’s stance.

“She thinks Saj did a great job but with a new prime minister and new priorities changes needed to be made,” the source was quoted as saying.

“For a start that means properly preparing for no deal, it’s clear those in the centre had no intention of preparing for no deal.”