A leading Conservative Brexit campaigner has suggested Britain should allow people from the European Union to freely enter the UK after Brexit.
MEP Daniel Hannan said told presenter Evan Davis on the BBC's Newsnight programme: “Frankly, if people watching think that they have voted and there is now going to be zero immigration from the EU, they are going to be disappointed.”
Mr Hannan said the UK would have to accept the free movement of people in order to remain in the European common market.
"The idea of staying within a common market but outside the political integration, I think that is feasible," said Mr Hannan.
After Mr Davis asked whether that meant the free movement of people between a post-Brexit Britain and the EU, Mr Hannan replied: "It means free movement of labour."
The Conservative MEP defended the campain to leave the EU, which focussed heavily on migration issues, saying that they had been honest about the implications for immigration from the start. He said that it was up to future governments to decide if immigration should be limited.
“I don’t think anyone has ever tried to put a number on [immigration]. That’s obviously going to depend on the state of the economy at the time,” said Mr Hannan.
Mr Hannan's statements on Newsnight were seen as the latest apparent, or alleged, U-turn by the Leave campaign. Nigel Farage has already disowned the pledge by the official Leave campaign to spend £350m a week previously given to the European Union on the NHS – even though much of that was spent in the UK.
All this beggars belief. D Hannan now admits UK may accept free movement of labour with EU to get trade deal. Isnt that what Remain said?!— mary beard (@wmarybeard) June 25, 2016
“I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration and the public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement," he said.
At one point Mr Davis put his head in his hands. “Why didn’t you say in the campaign that you were wanting a system where we had free movement of labour?" he said.
“Come on, that is completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for.”