Sajid Javid angers MPs by saying government's immigration plans will not be published before Brexit vote

MPs brand decision 'shocking and unacceptable' 

Monday 03 December 2018 11:27
Sajid Javid arrives for a political cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain
Sajid Javid arrives for a political cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain

Sajid Javid’s decision to not publish his immigration white paper before the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been described as “shocking and unacceptable” by MPs.

The home secretary said it was “very unlikely” MPs would see the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans ahead of the crucial vote on the withdrawal agreement on 11 December.

The government had not set a publication date for the white paper but had previously said it would be made available in December.

“It’s unlikely, actually very unlikely, to be published before the vote. It will be published soon,” Mr Javid said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The decision will add to the already growing speculation over how many Tory MPs will vote against Ms May’s deal, with some suggesting it could be as high as 100.

Mr Javid’s announcement reflects the divisions on immigration within the cabinet, with Ms May pushing for a curb on low-skilled immigration while the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the business secretary, Greg Clark, are pushing against the proposals.

The news MPs would not see the government’s immigration plans before the meaningful vote prompted outrage, with many taking to social media to express their concerns.

Sir Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton, said the details were required for any vote to be “meaningful”.

“Brexit and immigration: shocking and unacceptable for home secretary, Sajid Javid, to admit the immigration white paper will not be published before the Brexit vote,” he said.

“For a ‘meaningful vote’, MPs need to know what might happen to immigration if we leave.”

Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said it added to the list of reasons for a Final Say referendum.

“Yet more government policy that won’t be revealed until after our vote on the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement. It’s not good enough. Another reason to add to the growing list for a people’s vote,” Ms Berger said on Twitter.

Chris Green, the Conservative MP for Bolton West, said Mr Javid’s decision was “odd”.

“A healthy democracy, our laws, our money and our trade are key parts of why people chose to leave the EU. So was controlling our borders but the government is publishing the immigration White Paper after the Withdrawal vote. It seems a little odd,” he tweeted.

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