The EU's commitment to the free movement of workers within its borders makes it harder to limit immigration to Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May has admitted, but has not made it impossible. Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show this morning, May denied that Britain had "lost control" of its borders, and insisted that immigration could still be curbed if the country stayed in the EU.
"Free movement makes it harder to control immigration, but it does not make it impossible," the home secretary told Marr.
She admitted that immigration control was hard, saying: "You have constantly to be working at [immigration] which is exactly what we're doing. So you can't just change one feature and assume that that is going to have an impact."
Free movement conditions
May also said that the UK may be forced to abide by European free movement rules in the event of Brexit, because it could be one the conditions the EU imposes to allow the country still to trade within the free market, she claimed. However, the UK would not be able to influence free movement laws.
"If we were to be outside the European Union and still want the sort of access to the single market that people talk about… where that's been done for other countries, they have to accept the free movement rules without any say over those rules," she said.
Concerning law and order, May said that the fact we are able to share criminal records with other countries in the EU makes Britain safer and that this facility could be lost in the event of Brexit.
"There is no doubt that we need to do more in exchanging criminal records, but we are not going to be able to do that better outside the EU," she said.