MPs won’t know details of the proposed post-Brexit immigration system when they vote on Theresa May’s deal, it emerged today.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted it is ‘very unlikely’ that the government plans will be published before December 11.
The delay means the Commons will be largely in the dark about the shape of the future arrangements when the showdown happens.
The PM had hoped to trumpet tough new measures as one of the biggest wins in the package she had thrashed out with the EU. But the process has been hampered by wrangling between No10 and the Home Office.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) admitted it is ‘very unlikely’ that the government plans will be published before December 11
Mr Javid has previously expressed his hope that the long-awaited white paper would be published before December 11.
But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s unlikely, actually very unlikely, to be published before the vote. It will be published soon.’
Visitors from Singapore and South Korea will be able to skip passport queues
Tourists from outside Europe will be allowed to use electronic passport gates at airports for the first time.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed visitors from seven other countries could use self-service e-gates to speed up queues at passport control.
Currently only people from within the European Economic Area can use the automated gates, while those from other nations must go to manned kiosks.
But access to e-passport gates will be extended to visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and South Korea from next summer.
Mr Javid told the Commons: ‘It’s very important that we remain open and global with our new immigration system and that we also make the best use of new technology.
‘You will have heard that the chancellor announced in the Budget that we will be expanding egates to five other countries – the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden and japan.
‘We will now also be adding Singapore and South Korea to that list.’
Officials say it will cover more than 6million extra international travellers a year arriving in the UK.
Mr Javid said it was another step towards Britain having an ‘open and global’ immigration system.
Mr Javid and Chancellor Philip Hammond are reported to be pressing for the Government finally to abandon the target of reducing net migration below 100,000 a year – a move which Mrs May is said to be resisting.
Explaining the delay, the Home Secretary said: ‘This is the biggest change in our immigration system in over four decades – the most significant change we’re going to see in immigration as we take control of our immigration system, so it’s important that we work on the details, that we listen to people, to businesses and others and we get the details right.’
He said the new immigration system would be based on skills, and not the nationality of people.
Ministers are planning to introduce new immigration rules that bring an end to free movement from 2021, after the end of the post-exit implementation period.
Details of the proposed regime were initially due to be published as long as a year ago, but they were held back while the independent Migration Advisory Committee carried out a detailed analysis, which was published in September.
Mrs May is staring down the barrel of almost certain defeat in the vote on her Brexit deal on December 11.
A heavy loss could bring the PM’s time in Downing Street to a chaotic halt – although allies hope going down by a small margin could allow her to try again.
Meanwhile, demands for a second referendum are mounting after the dramatic resignation of universities minister Sam Gyimah over the weekend.
Senior Labour figures including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson are thought to be ramping up pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to back a fresh national ballot.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove admitted yesterday that a referendum was a potential outcome if Mrs May loses, but said it would ‘rip the social fabric of the country’. He also insisted Leave would win by a bigger margin than in 2016.
MPs across Parliament have angrily accused ministers of ignoring the will of the House after they said only that they would release a ‘full reasoned political statement’ on the legal position.
It follows a binding Commons vote last month requiring the Government to lay before Parliament ‘any legal advice in full’ – including that given by the Attorney General – relating to the Withdrawal Agreement.
Theresa May (pictured in Argentina over the weekend) had hoped to trumpet tough new measures as one of the biggest wins in the package she had thrashed out with the EU