May signals Government target to cut immigration to remain in place post-Brexit

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Theresa May has signalled that the Government’s goal of cutting net annual immigration below 100,000 will remain in place after Brexit.

The Prime Minister said she wanted to “continue to work to ensure that we address that particular target” after she was asked whether it will still be in place after Britain leaves the European Union (EU).

Mrs May, speaking during a one-day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, said she recognised that EU citizens would still want to work and study in the UK after its departure.

She added: “Of course, crucially, we will be out of the single market and we will be out of the free movement rules, and we will be setting our own rules for migration into the United Kingdom.

“We recognise the concern that people in the UK have about this issue of net migration into the UK, which is why we set ourselves a target in relation to net migration and want to continue to work to ensure that we address that particular target.

“I recognise that UK citizens will still want to come and study and work in countries in the EU 27 like Denmark, and EU citizens like Danish citizens will still want to come and work and study in the UK.”

It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd declined to confirm she was aiming to hit the target by the time of the 2022 election.

Ms Rudd told the the Commons Home Affairs Committee last month that the Government will not set out its plans for post-Brexit immigration until after a deal on the UK’s future relationship with the EU is reached this autumn.

Addressing a press conference inside Christiansborg Castle alongside Danish prime minister Lars Rasmussen, Mrs May said the pair discussed the “key questions that remain to be resolved” over Brexit as well as “our future economic and security partnership”.

“As I have said before, I am ambitious for the scale and the scope of this relationship and I want to ensure we maintain the closest possible links with our European allies.

“I understand that future arrangements for Denmark’s fishing industry are of particular interest to you and, as an independent coastal state, we will want to ensure fair and reciprocal access to waters.”

Mr Rasmussen warned that leaving the single market “comes with a price tag” for both Britain and Denmark.

He said: “Leaving the single market comes with a price tag, ultimately it’s not only a British price tag, it’s a Danish price tag.”

Mrs May will later travel to Sweden for talks with the Swedish premier Stefan Lofven on Monday evening.

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