Former PM, Tony Blair, says UK could stay in EU with migration curbs

Former British Prime minister, Tony Blair has said the UK could remain in the EU with reformed migration rules.

Perceived mass immigration or future mass immigration to the UK was one of the main reasons people voted for the UK to leave the EU and therefore by addressing these concerns Blair has reasoned the UK could stay within the bloc.

This is despite the fact that those in areas with lower net migration were more likely to have voted for Brexit than those in areas which had higher levels of net migration.

In a report published yesterday, EU Migration: Examining The Evidence And Policy Choices, Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change suggests reforming freedom of movement, without leaving the single market. [Suggest shifting this to 2nd paragraph – JB]

Currently, citizens from other EU countries can be deported after six months if they have not found a job, have no realistic possibility of finding one, or have become a burden on the welfare state.

The report says EU nationals should already come with an offer of work and that those who don’t earn permission to stay wouldn’t be allowed to open a bank account, rent a home or claim benefits. It also proposes restricting free healthcare for unemployed migrants and allowing universities to charge EU nationals higher tuition fees than UK students.

When 10 countries joined the EU in May 2004 the then Labour-government did not insist on any transitional controls, unlike France and Germany.

On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Blair said the, “Situation was different”, as the UK economy was strong then and you have to react and listen to people’s concerns. He went on to say, “If we put this case to people, maybe they will listen. If they don’t – I accept it goes forward.”

Blair was accused of not accepting the result of the EU referendum by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. He said on the show, “The country’s decided we’re leaving the EU; we’ve got to get on with that. Tony Blair’s got to get over it.”

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