This article titled “Sajid Javid: English tests for people seeking UK citizenship will get harder – Politics live” was written by Andrew Sparrow, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 2nd October 2018 17.18 Asia/Kolkata
Scottish Tory MPs have launched a campaign to help thwart a leadership bid by Boris Johnson, claiming that having him as leader or prime minister could shatter the party’s revival in Scotland.
The Daily Record reports they have nicknamed their efforts “Operation Arse”, quoting one anonymous source as saying “We called it that so we’d all be clear who we were talking about.”
They point to polling by Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer, which shows that with Johnson as leader, support for Labour and other parties would surge, losing the Tories the 12 Scottish seats which secured Theresa May’s wafer-thin election victory last year.
An unspoken subtext is that a Johnson leadership could also boost the Scottish National party campaign for independence and a second referendum: he is hated so much north of the border, it would undermine the fragile case for the union after Brexit.
The Herald said one MP at the party’s in Birmingham said the prospect of the Tories being led by Johnson was “a nightmare scenario for Ruth” which would “leave her badly exposed. The Nats and Labour in Scotland would have a field day.”
These briefings imply this campaign is backed by Ruth Davidson, the combative Scottish Tory leader who became a key Conservative spokesperson for remain and has been extremely blunt about her views of Johnson.
It is, however, far from clear whether there will be unanimity in Scottish Tory ranks. While many MPs are loyal to Davidson, some like John Lamont (MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk) fiercely so, there are others who are staunch leave campaigners such as Ross Thomson, the MP for Aberdeen South.
Thomson has ignored Davidson’s appeal for her group to stop undermining Theresa May’s Brexit stance; he told the BBC earlier this year he and Davidson “had agreed to disagree” over the Chequers plan. “I don’t clear anything with anybody, thank you,” he added.
Javid has just finished his speech. Here is his peroration.
I speak with feeling about this country …
because for my family, Britain was a choice.
They came here for freedom, security, opportunity and prosperity.
It is because of these strengths that I have always been an optimist about Britain’s future.
And now it is my duty as their son, and a child of this country,
to help secure for this generation –
and for future generations –
all of the things that make this country a beacon for the world.
Together, we will build that stronger home.
Sajid Javid is delivering a reasonably meaty speech, but, as the Manchester Evening News’ Jennifer Williams points out, he is addressing a half-empty hall.
Everyone is queuing for Boris Johnson.
In his speech Javid has just managed to get the Conservative conference to applaud Diane Abbott, saying that she deserves credit for being the first black woman elected to the House of Commons. That line in his speech came as a bit of a surprise, but the audience did applaud properly.
Javid says English language tests for people seeking UK citizenship will get harder
Javid is also announcing two changes to the process by which people apply for citizenship.
The Life in the UK test that people have to sit will be updated, he says. (This seems sensible. Some of the questions are quite obscure. In fact, they are so difficult that Ed Miliband included a whole round based on current Life in the UK questions in the World Transformed pub quiz at the Labour conference last week.)
According to the Tories, there will be a consultation on “putting British values at the heart of Life in the UK test” and updating the handbook.
More significantly, perhaps, Javid is going to make the language test for citizenship harder. In their press notice the Tories say:
We are raising the level of language proficiency expected for adults seeking to naturalise as British citizens. Language ability is a key skill which aids the effective integration of adults and their families into the UK and promotes positive outcomes. We want to see people who want to become citizens to make a commitment to their integration by investing in the skills they need to integrate as quickly as possible …
There is [currently] no difference in the English language requirement for settlement and for citizenship … This fails to recognise the greater significance of British citizenship, or give the incentive for those who have settled here to continue developing their English language skills.
Sajid Javid announces measures to tighten laws on forced marriage
Sajid Javid, the home secretary, is speaking now. The Conservative party has just sent out a news release saying Javid will be announcing a series of measures tightening the law on forced marriage. It says Javid will be:
Consulting to include an explicit reference to forced marriage in the immigration rules to demonstrate that forced marriage is unacceptable in the UK. This will give us the means to refuse entry where there is evidence that the marriage is forced.
Consulting on introducing a mandatory reporting duty for forced marriage to help us tackle this appalling crime. This will ensure that where a crime is committed it is reported to the police, leading to more perpetrators paying for their crimes.
Working to ensure anonymous evidence of forced marriage can be admissible as closed evidence in the visa appeals process. Where someone is being forced to sponsor a spousal visa as part of a forced marriage we will always protect their anonymity. However, we want to ensure this evidence can be used to refuse a visa and that this refusal withstands an appeal in court.
Consulting on refreshed multi-agency statutory guidance on forced marriage to help ensure professionals understand forced marriage. Professionals also need to understand risk factors, their responsibilities, and what action they can take to protect and support victims.
Launching a communications campaign to raise awareness and understanding of forced marriage. The campaign will highlight the many ways people are forced to marry. This will be complemented by a series of roadshows for frontline professionals to promote the use of forced marriage protection orders.
Forced marriage is already an offence, with a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.
David Gauke, the justice secretary, has delivered his speech to the conference. It contained a series of low-key announcements.
- Gauke said he was setting up a unit to seize money from people who deal drugs in jail. He said:
And to further crack down on drugs and violence in prison, this month we are launching a new Financial Crime Unit which will track and seize the money that criminal kingpins use to deal drugs in prison. My message to them is this: we are already blocking your phones, putting you in isolation and now we will make sure you can’t access your money. Dealing drugs in prison will no longer be profitable because we will find your assets and we will seize them.
- He said he was launching new measures to improve education in prisons.
Today I can announce that:
… We have successfully opened up the market for prison education, increasing the number of potential providers from four to twelve…
… We are systematising offender training and employment in prison industries such as cooking, cleaning and maintenance across the prison estate. This builds on the success of the approach within custody and community which we have developed with organisations such as the Clink Charity.
And, we have agreed a formal partnership with the construction industry, led by CITB and Lendlease, to fill skills gaps in the industry and help more prisoners do a working day during their sentence and find work on release.
- He said the government would spend £5m on Britain’s first “secure school” at Medway.
Secure Schools are a radical new concept that places education and healthcare at the heart of youth custody. They will be run by not-for-profit academy trusts, bringing genuine expertise, knowledge and innovation into the youth custody sector.
More from the Boris Johnson queue. This is from my colleague Pippa Crerar.
Chlorine-washed chicken is ‘clean chicken’, former Brexit minister says
Much of the talk about a possible UK-US trade deal has focused on whether or not British consumers would be willing to buy chlorine-washed chicken – chicken treated by a process banned in the EU not because it is dangerous to consumers (it isn’t, even though chlorine sounds like something you would not want to ingest), but because it could excuse lower animal welfare standards.
But in an interview on the Today programme this morning Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister and a leading figure in the European Research Group, which is pushing for a harder Brexit, said chlorine-washed chicken was just “clean chicken”. He explained:
Nobody is proposing to reduce standards in the UK and I don’t think anyone believes that there is any kind of constituency in the UK for a reduction in food standards, but if you go over to the US and raise this issue of chlorinated chicken nobody knows what you’re talking about because it’s just not an issue … in a sense what people are objecting to is clean chicken.
Baker also said Theresa May’s continuing support for the Chequers plan was a “cause of considerable alarm” to Tory Brexiters. Asked about May sticking to Chequers, he said:
Well that is the position at the moment and it is a cause of considerable alarm to us. Yes, it takes off the table all of the benefits of an independent trade and regulatory policy, something which countries around the world are looking forward to.
Civil partnerships to be extended to straight couples, May announces
Heterosexual couples will be able to get civil partnerships, the government has announced. In an interview with the London Evening Standard Theresa May said:
This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily want to get married.
As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage. Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.
This follows a supreme court ruling earlier this year saying that the current law that restricts civil partnerships to same-sex couples is discriminatory.
Sinn Féin has reacted angrily to Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, saying the Good Friday agreement is not “sacrosanct”. (See 10.36am.) Sinn Fein president, Mary Lou McDonald, said:
Today’s comments by DUP leader, Arlene Foster, on the Good Friday agreement are unacceptable and reveal a reckless disregard for the peace process, prosperity and progress.
Foster made her comment in an interview in the Daily Telegraph. She said:
It has been deeply frustrating to hear people who voted remain and in Europe talk about Northern Ireland as though we can’t touch the Belfast agreement. Things evolve, even in the EU context. There has been a lot of misinterpretation, holding it up as a sacrosanct piece of legislation.
Cap on number of high-skilled migrants workers allowed into UK could go, says Javid
Sajid Javid, the home secretary, has said he will consider lifting the cap on high-skilled migrants coming to the UK as part of the post-Brexit shake up of migration policy. Speaking at a fringe event ahead of his speech, Javid fleshed out some of the details trailed this morning, adding he will be looking at “better ways” of controlling migration than a restrictive cap.
Current policy is to allow 20,700 high-skilled workers into the UK each year on Tier 2 visas. Javid in June excluded medical professionals from the skilled migration cap. His speech today comes after the Migration Advisory Commitee (MAC) published a report with recommendations to scrap the cap on high-skilled migrants and move to a system that prefers high-skilled to low-skilled entrants.
In response to a question from the Guardian, he said:
The MAC report recommended that we look at scrapping the cap so I will consider that. We’ve not made a decision yet.
Their suggestion is … you might have better controls in other ways, not just salary, but there might be some other methods you can use so it’s worth looking again at what the best way is to control migration.
Javid said he would also be looking at where the salary threshold would be set. The current salary threshold for such visas is £30,000, which the MAC said should be retained.
Addressing concerns raised over exclusion of so-called low-skilled migrants, Javid said:
All good policy is rooted in evidence. When it comes to the immigration system this is a unique opportunity for the first time in decades as a home secretary I’m able to design the immigration system almost from scratch because we will not have those obligations to the EU. Doing that we need to look at the evidence.
Boris Johnson is speaking at a fringe meeting at 1pm. People are queueing already, as the Evening Standard’s Joe Murphy points out.
CBI says May’s post-Brexit immigration plans will be ‘self-defeating’
The CBI says the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans will be “self-defeating”. This is from Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director general.
Freedom of movement is ending and firms understand that. But the prime minister’s proposals for a new system have taken a wrong turn. By dismissing the importance of low skilled workers to the UK economy, the government risks harming businesses and living standards now and in the future.
All skill levels matter to the UK economy. Today’s proposals risk worsening labour shortages, already serious in construction, hospitality and care. Restricting access to the workers the UK needs is self-defeating.
Just weeks ago the Migration Advisory Committee confirmed that EU workers – at all skill levels – pay in more than they take out. They have not reduced jobs, wages or training for UK workers.
The signals on people and trade deals are disappointing. Though mobility will be part of negotiations, this is not enough. To secure the best deals around the world the UK must be willing to put migration on the table – starting with the EU, our most significant trading partner.
It is also disappointing that the biggest flaw of the UKs current system – the net migration target – will remain. This target means that every day workers with skills the UK needs are turned away and jobs left unfilled. Employers all over the UK will continue to urge its abolition to show the world Britain means business.
This is from Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s lead Brexit spokesman, who is not happy about Theresa May’s immigration plans.
At a fringe event this morning Sajid Javid, the home secretary, said he was thinking of scrapping the cap on high-skilled immigration. This is from my colleague Jamie Grierson.
Javid was also flaunting his credentials as a possible future leader, Jamie says:
Parts of Good Friday agreement might have to change under no deal Brexit, says DUP
The DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said that elements of the Good Friday agreement will have to be changed if there is no Brexit deal.
As Theresa May was being interviewed by the BBC, Donaldson told RTE that the party was “not seeking to alter” the peace agreement but parts of the north-south co-operation would change if Britain crashed out of the EU.
His remarks came after the party’s leader, Arlene Foster, said the peace deal was “not sacrosanct”.
The DUP was the only major political party not to support the Good Friday agreement when it was sealed in 1998 and it is not the first time Foster has said the peace deal could change. Donaldson told RTE:
We are not seeking to alter that agreement, but Arlene was simply reflecting reality that if we do end up with a no-deal scenario we would be deluding ourselves if we did not think that would have consequences in the way we do business.
One consequence he cited was the single electricity market across the island, a direct result of the peace deal. This would have to be re-negotiated under a no-deal Brexit.
Theresa May’s morning interviews – Summary
Here are the main points from Theresa May’s morning broadcast interviews.
- May conceded that Britons might have to fill in Esta-style visa waiver forms to visit the EU after Brexit. Asked if this would happen, she said:
The question of business travel, the question of tourism, will be part of the negotiations with the European Union.
We have put forward a set of proposals that would enable people to continue to travel for tourism to the European Union and for tourists from the EU to come here.
When it was put to her that the UK plans envisage EU nationals having to fill in Esta-style visa waiver forms to come to the UK (see 8.05am), and that it would be surprising if the EU did not demand the same, she replied:
We have put forward a proposal that is based on a reciprocal arrangement.
- She said there would be no general exemptions from the new post-Brexit immigration rules for industries reliant on low-skilled labour. Asked about industries that rely on a lot of low-skilled EU migrants, such as the care sector, she said:
There is one area where we have said we will look at a system, which is agricultural workers. We have already said we are putting a pilot scheme into place in relation to agricultural workers. But those are seasonal workers. Those are people who come here for a limited period of time. The agricultural industry has said that they would like to see a further scheme, and we have listened to that and we are putting a pilot into place.
But I’m not saying that suddenly there are going to be lots of different sectors of the economy which are going to have exemptions, which means actually that you no longer have an immigration policy. What we are doing is setting an immigration policy which I believe reflects what people in this country want, which is they want to see an end to free movement and they want to ensure that people who come here are contributing to our economy.
- She suggested that EU workers could still get some preferential treatment when coming to the UK under the terms of a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal. But she claimed that a mobility arrangement was not same as the immigration system, which she said would not give EU nationals priority. Asked if a trade deal could give EU workers preferential treatment, she said:
The trade negotiations with any country always include an element that’s called mobility. The point I was making was that is different from the overall immigration policy that we are setting …
The immigration rules are not part of our detailed discussion with the European Union in the future. That’s the point I’m making. We will be deciding what our immigration rules are.
- She said the government remained committed to its target of getting annual net immigration below 100,000. She said:
We retain our commitment to bring net migration down as we have promised in our manifesto.
This is from my colleague Jamie Grierson, the Guardian’s home affairs correspondent.
- She delivered a partial rebuke to Jeremy Hunt, saying that the EU and the Soviet Union were not the same. Asked about the comment in his speech on Sunday (see 9.32am), she said:
As I sit around that table in the European Union, there are countries there who used to be part of the Soviet Union. They are now democratic countries. I can tell you that the two organisations are not the same.
But she also defended the broad argument that Hunt was making.
I think the point he was making was an important one. It was that we’ve had the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history – the referendum vote in 2016 – and we should be respecting and delivering on that referendum. Across the European Union, I think it’s important for people to recognise that vote and to deliver on that vote.
- She accused Labour of “playing politcs” with Brexit. She said:
My message to the Labour party is that they’ve got to stop playing politics with this and start acting in the national interest.
We’ve seen the Labour party saying basically that they won’t accept any deal that I bring back from the European Union regardless of how good it is for the United Kingdom, but they would accept any deal Europe offers them, regardless of how bad it is for the United Kingdom.
That’s playing politics with this issue, it’s not acting in the national interest. I’m acting, the government is acting, in the national interest.
- She said she was in office “for the long term”. Asked how long she expected to stay as leader, she said:
I’m in this for the long term, not just for the Brexit deal but actually for the domestic agenda we are setting out at this conference.
- She said holding an early general election was “not in the national interest”.
- She brushed aside questions about whether Boris Johnson was trying to undermine her. She said she expected Johnson’s fringe meeting today to be “very lively”. Asked about the photograph of Johnson running through a field, which seemed staged as a bid to mock May, she replied:
At this conference, what I feel is that I and this government and this party are getting on with the important job of getting a good deal for the UK when we leave the EU. But also working on the opportunities for this country and people in this country when we leave the EU. That’s what I’m focusing on.
(Maybe it’s just me, there does seem something odd about Johnson’s undercarriage arrangements in this picture. It is as if he’s trying to make a point about a hard Brexit.)
Leading MEP and key Merkel ally says Hunt should apologise for his EU/Soviet Union comparision
One of the most senior MEPs in the European parliament said this morning that Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, should apologise for what he said in his conference speech on Sunday implicitly comparing the EU to the Soviet Union. Manfred Weber, a German MEP and Angela Merkel ally who leads the centre-right European people’s party, the largest group in the parliament, told MEPs at a meeting in Strasbroug this morning:
Now we experience a new level of populism when the foreign minister of Great Britain, Hunt, is comparing the European Union with the Soviet Union.
Weber quoted the Polish former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who said: “Please Mr Hunt, show us the gulag, please Mr Hunt show us the Soviet Union army troops in your country, please show us the Stasi system in your country.”
Weber went on:
So Sikorski is right. Mr Hunt, you should apologise for what you have said.
Sikorski also posted this on Twitter.
As a reminder, this is what Hunt said in his speech on Sunday:
What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream? The EU was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.
The lesson from history is clear: if you turn the EU club into a prison, the desire to get out won’t diminish it will grow.
This came shortly after a passage in which Hunt also spoke about what Latvia suffered under Soviet occupation.
In some respects Hunt’s speech was similar to Michael Portillo’s famous SAS one at the Tory conference in 1995. That went down a storm with members on the day, and was seen as boosting his leadership chances, but the defence community (Portillo was defence secretary) was horrified by his comments (just as diplomats have been by Hunt’s), and eventually Portillo realised the speech was a big mistake.
Q: Is HS2 definitely going ahead?
May says it is an important project for the UK. It needs that extra capacity.
Q: And your voice is fine this year?
May says she will be speaking strongly tomorrow, not just about Brexit, but about opportunities in the UK.
And that’s it.
I will post a summary of what we’ve learnt from the interviews shortly.
Q: What do you think Boris Johnson is up to?
May says she is concentrating on what is important, which is getting a good deal for the UK.
Q: Boris is trying to take over the conference, isn’t he?
May says she thinks his fringe event will be lively. But the conference is about what the government is doing for the future.
Q: Do you agree with what Digby Jones said about Boris Johnson being offensive and irrelevant? You took part in a standing ovation?
That was at the end of Jones’s speech.
Q: So you don’t think Johnson is offensive and irrelevant?
May ducks the question, and goes back to talking about the domestic policies announced.
Ferrari plays music from The Chase, a TV programme that May was filmed watching for the BBC’s Panorama documentary. One of the stars of the The Chase asks a question: what will happen if there is no deal?
May says she is working for a deal, but the government is preparing for the possibility that one might not happen.
May’s LBC interview
Nick Ferrari is interviewing Theresa May.
Q: Is being in the EU like being in the Soviet Union?
May (who sounds a lot more cheerful being interviewed by Ferrari than Husain) says he is referring to what Jeremy Hunt said. Hunt spoke about the importance of honouring the EU referendum result. She knows that the EU is not like the Soviet Union.
Q: Many of my listeners felt you were very badly treated by the EU leaders at Salzburg, mostly men. What did your husband, Philip, say about it?
May says she can’t remember. He probably poured her a stiff drink.
She says she has treated the EU with nothing but respect.
In the Today post-match summary, Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editors, says that listeners won’t have been able to see May’s arched eyebrows when asked about Boris Johnson.
It sounds as if Mishal Husain was exposed to the famous May death stare.
I will post a summary after the LBC interview, which is coming up soon.
Q: The front pages are full of pictures of Boris Johnson. He is mocking you, even though it is not a field of wheat (it’s dry grass). How do you feel about that?
May says she is getting on with the job of getting a good deal for the UK as it leaves the EU.
Q: But, as you walk around here, people are constantly talking about the problems with the Chequers plan. It is not just Boris Johnson. Do you feel like John Major (who described his Eurosceptic opponents as “bastards”).
May reverts to talking about Labour, saying they should stop playing politics with this.
And she says her message to the conference is that they must unite and get th best deal for the UK.
Q: How long will you stay?
May says she has said she is in this for the long term. It is not just about Brexit; it is about the domestic economy too.
That is what we are focusing on.
And that’s it.
May says she is not opposed to a backstop.
But it is only meant to be there if there is a delay in introducing the end arrangements.
Q: Could the backstop remain permanently?
May says the government will not agree to something that keeps the UK in the EU permanently.
She says, when MPs vote on the final deal, they will need to know what the future relationship will be.
Q: Will you compromise on the Irish backstop?
May says she hopes to get a backstop that never needs to be used.
Her Chequers plan would ensure that there was no hard border in Ireland, and hence no need for the backstop.
Q: Would you consider light-touch regulatory changes on goods crossing the Irish Sea?
May says she thinks a solution can be found that preserves the integrity of the UK.
The government will bring forward proposals in due course, she says.
May does not rule out Britons having to apply for Esta-style visa waiver forms to visit EU after Brexit
Q: Will travel to the EU become harder?
May says this will be part of the negotiations.
Q: But you are proposing Esta-style visa waiver forms for EU visitors coming to the UK. So you would expect them to do the same for us?
May says she expects these arrangements to be reciprocal.
- May does not rule out Britons having to apply for Esta-style visa waiver forms to visit the EU after Brexit.
Q: Will your plans cause problems for employers dependent on low-skilled immigrant labour?
May says the government wants to train people to do the jobs available?
Q: But will some employers get an exemption?
May says the government will consider the demands of the economy, but it wants to train workers.
Q: So there might be exemptions?
May says the government is considering this for agricultural workers. It is putting a pilot scheme in place.
But these are seasonal workers, she says.
She says she is not proposing widespread exemptions.
- May rules out widespread exemptions to the new immigration rules for employers dependent on low-skilled workers.
May says getting net immigration below 100,000 remains a target
Q: Will these proposals enable you to meet your target of getting net migration below 100,000 year?
May says: “We retain our commitment to that target.”
She says these plans will give the UK control over immigration.
- May says getting net immigration below 100,000 remains a target.
May’s Today interview
Mishal Husain is now interviewing Theresa May on Radio 4’s Today.
Husain starts by summarising the immigration announcement.
And she points out that May has lost six cabinet ministers since last year’s conference.
Q: What will your plans mean for parts of the economy dependent on low-skilled migration?
May summarises the plans first.
She picks up the point about trade deals. In any trade deal, there are terms relating to things like the movement of business people.
But, if conditions like that are included in the EU trade deal, other countries would be able to get the same terms from a trade deal.
She says immigration rules are different from these mobility rules that get included in trade deal.
- May accepts that EU trade deal could include “mobility” concessions for EU workers. But she insists that immigration rules are different, and that these will not prioritise people from the EU.
Q: Could high-skilled immigration rise?
May says the government is committed to bringing immigration down.
More details of May’s plans for post-Brexit immigration policy
Here are more details of the post-Brexit immigration policy plans announced by the Conservatives overnight. (See 7.41am.) This is how the party explains them in a press release.
The proposals follow a report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that recommended high-skilled workers are given priority over visa applications from low-skilled workers. The report was based on an immigration policy that had a level playing field for EU nationals and applicants from other countries.
A white paper detailing how the new system will work will be published this autumn, ahead of an Immigration Bill next year.
Under the shake up there will be routes for short-stay business trips and tourists and for those who want to live and work for longer in the UK.
Under plans being developed people arriving for a short stay would see passports scanned at e-gates in airports, train stations and ports, for so-called ‘fly-in, fly-out’ visitors. Currently EU citizens get fast-tracked through e-gates while tourists or businessmen from countries like Japan and Australia have to queue for passport control.
All security and criminal records checks would be carried out in advance of visits, cutting down red tape for travellers. These in-country security checks would be a similar system of prior authorisation to that operating in the United States.
For those wanting to live and work in the UK longer term, there will be a new immigration system for applicants with the skills that help meet Britain’s needs.
Applicants will need to meet a minimum salary threshold to ensure they are not competing for jobs that could otherwise be recruited in the UK.
Successful applicants for high skilled work would be able to bring their immediate family but only if sponsored by their future employers.
The new system will not include a cap on student visas, which are a separate system to work visas and are granted on the basis of academic ability, the ability to speak English and the ability of students to support themselves financially.
The ability of people from trading partners to deliver services and student exchange programmes will form part of future trade agreements.
The government has already announced rights for the existing three million EU citizens already living and working in the UK will be safeguarded – even in the event of no deal.
When the MAC published its report two weeks ago, making recommendations that are the basis of May’s policy, business groups and professional organisations reacted badly, claiming that shutting out low-skilled workers could lead to labour shortages.
The MAC also said that offering concessions on immigration to the EU could be sensible, because this would be “potentially something of value to offer in the negotiations”, although it did not formally recommend this.
May insists the government is taking action to stop pollution caused by plastics.
But it is not just a matter of banning things. It is about working with industry to stop these products getting into the environment in the first place, she says.
And that’s it.
We’ve got at least two more May interviews coming – Today at 8.10am, and LBC at 8.30am.
May insists EU and Soviet Union not the same in bid to defuse row triggered by Hunt
Q: How damaging was what happened at Salzburg? You don’t seem to be getting much respect?
May says the EU has put two offers on the table, neither of which are acceptable to the UK.
That is why the UK put an offer on the table. The EU likes some aspects, but has concerns about others. Let’s hear those concerns.
Q: You talk about respect. Do you agree with Jeremy Hunt about the EU being like the Soviet Union?
May says Hunt was right to say that the government must deliver on the rest of the EU referendum.
She says she sits around the table at EU meetings. There are countries there that used to be in the Soviet Union. She knows the EU and the Soviet Union are not the same.
- May attempts to defuse row triggered by Hunt’s Soviet Union comparison, saying the EU and the Soviet Union are not the same. That could be read as a partial rebuke to Hunt, although Hunt would say he was not making a direct comparison.
Q: How are relations with Boris Johnson?
May says she is sure his fringe meeting will be “lively”.
Q: What will you do if you can’t get the Chequers plan through parliament?
May says, if she gets a deal, she will bring it back to parliament.
She says her message to Labour is that they should stop “playing politics” with this and act in the national interest.
Labour has said it will reject any deal she brings back, regardless of how good it is, she says. But Labour will accept any deal offered by the EU regardless of how bad it is. That is playing politics with the national interest, she says.
Q: Will you rule out a general election?
May says it is not in the national interest to have a general election.
On the subject of a second referendum, she says it is important that the government delivers on the result of the EU referendum.
May’s BBC News interview
Theresa May is being interviewed on BBC News.
Q: How can you claim to be the party of business if you are ignoring their concerns about Brexit?
May says she is listening to the concerns of business.
Theresa May gives details of post-Brexit immigration policy
Good morning. Theresa May is about to do a round of morning interviews, and she will be asked about plans announced overnight to stop EU workers having priority in the post-Brexit immigration system.
Here is an extract from the party’s news release.
The prime minister, Theresa May, today set out details of how Britain will take back control of its borders and reduce immigration to sustainable levels through a new post-Brexit system.
In the biggest shake-up in decades, high-skilled workers who want to live and work in Britain will be given priority while low skilled immigration will be curbed.
There will be a new single immigration system that treats EU countries the same as non EU countries.
And the UK is looking at introducing a swift system of e-gate visa checks for tourists and visitors coming to the country for short stay business trips from all low risk countries.
This confirms what we reported after the cabinet signed off this plan on Monday last week.
But it is still not clear whether EU workers could be offered exceptions as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10am: Session on “a stronger, fairer United Kingdom”, with speeches from ministers including David Gauke, the justice secretary, and Sajid Javid, the home secretary.
1pm: Boris Johnson speaks at a fringe event.
2pm: Session on “high-quality public services”, with speeches from Damian Hinds, the education secretary, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary.
6pm: Sajid Javid is interviewed by Katharine Viner at a Guardian fringe event.
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