East Ham MP raises concerns about free movement of people as UK formally triggers Brexit


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Stephen Timms has said Theresa May needs to “make some compromise on the free movement of people” from Europe to the UK as Article 50 is triggered.

The East Ham MP, a member of the EU Select Committee whose role it is to oversee Brexit negotiations, says he will tell the prime minister today that such compromise is needed in order to retain “barrier free access” to the EU market.

The Conservative government has previously spoken about ending free movement.

Brexit has now been formally triggered following the successful delivery of the Article 50 letter from Sir Tim Barrow, UK ambassador to the EU, to the European Council.

Theresa May is currently speaking in front of MPs at the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Timms said: “The political reality is from talking to MPs in Germany and other countries is that barrier-free access to the market involves some compromise.

“We will need to recognise that European citizens do have a stronger place for coming into the UK than people coming from outside the European Union.

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“What I haven’t yet seen is the prime minister recognise that she will need to make that offer.

He added that leaving the EU will result in “economic prices that we are all going to have to pay” and protecting jobs was a priority.

“I completely recognise that people wanted to control migration in the UK and a lot of people in Newham wanted that but I do not believe anybody wanted the country to be poorer,” he said.

Mr Timms said a third report from the committee is due to be published next Tuesday.

At present, he and other members have been visiting “pretty much every region of the country” to talk about the hopes and concerns of people in relation to Brexit.

A forthcoming visit to Northern Ireland has already been scheduled.

Mr Timms added: “There is a lot for us to do in holding the government to account.”