Bill ending EU freedom of movement clears Commons hurdle
MPs have backed a major piece of immigration legislation which seeks to end EU freedom of movement in the UK.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) comfortably passed at third reading by 342 votes to 248, and will now be sent to the House of Lords for further consideration.
The legislation repeals EU free movement rules to put EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens on an equal footing to those from outside the bloc who want to live and work in Britain.
It also paves for the way for the Government’s new points-based immigration system, although it does not give precise details of that shake-up.
Labour MPs were whipped to oppose the legislation, with Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome saying the “punitive, discriminatory piece of legislation” marked “a slap in the face to the carers, cleaners, drivers and shop assistants who have risked their lives on the frontline to keep this country running” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Home Secretary Priti Patel hit out at Labour as she welcomed the vote’s result.
“Last year the British people sent a clear message that they wanted to end free movement and our landmark Immigration Bill delivers exactly that,” the Cabinet minister said.
“Labour voting against this bill shows that while their leadership may have changed, their determination to deny the will of the people has not.
“Keir Starmer claims he accepts the reasons for Labour’s defeat, but his refusal to support taking back control of our borders shows that Labour still cannot be trusted to deliver on the people’s priorities.”