He added the UK had a “moral obligation” to “move swiftly” to ensure EU nationals were not forced to leave if negotiators are unable to agree terms before Britain leaves the bloc on 29 March next year.
“We hugely value the contribution of the EU citizens here in the UK and I’m confident that in the unlikely outcome we don’t have a deal we will move swiftly to secure their position,” he said. “We value their contribution, we want them to stay, it is inconceivable we would do anything other than make sure they are legally in a position where they are secure to stay.
“There is absolutely no question that you are going to see EU citizens turfed out, we have made that clear in the past, I have made that clear in the past and I’m happy to give that reassurance again. We have got a moral obligation to make sure we do the right thing and in any event we are going to be setting out the contingency plans we have across the board and yes, that will affect EU citizens.”
Meanwhile, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator warned that the 27 nation bloc was not impressed by the “blame game” being played in the British press over the looming prospect of a no-deal scenario.
Michel Barnier told reporters in Brussels that “many people” had underestimated the social, economic and legal impacts of the UK’s divorce from the union.
He added both sides would intensify negotiations in a bid to reach an agreement by October, with the Irish border question and numerous other details about the EU and Britain’s future relationship still to be resolved.
“The negotiations are now entering the final stage. We have agreed that the EU and UK will negotiate continuously from now on and Dominic [Raab] and I will meet regularly to take stock and move the negotiations forward,” he said.
Mr Raab had earlier said Britain was committed to leaving the EU next year regardless of whether or not a deal could be agreed.
“Some of these hair-raising scare stories are very far from the truth,” he added.
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