Defying the party critics attempting to oust her, the Prime Minister is to set out her belief that the draft Brexit agreement will give her Government the power to end the open door to EU migrants and introduce a skills-based immigration system. “We want an immigration system for the future that everyone can have confidence in,” she will say in a keynote speech to business leaders.
“Once we have left the EU, we will be fully in control of who comes here.”
Mrs May’s determination to move the debate about the Brexit deal onto the crucial issue of immigration comes after she warned the Tory MPs attempting to drive her out of Downing Street that their plotting could put the entire Brexit process at risk.
And her drive to face down the backbench Brexiteer coup was given a significant boost when it was confirmed that her foes were struggling to collect the 48 supporters needed to trigger a no-confidence vote in her leadership.
Their hopes of a vote as early as today appeared to be evaporating over the weekend.
PM Theresa May is insisting her Brexit deal will give us back the control of our borders
Dominic Raab resigned his role of Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union last week
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the ruling body of Tory backbenchers and custodian of the letters demanding a confidence ballot, said that the threshold had not been reached.
He also predicted it would be “very likely” the Prime Minister would win such a vote.
By last night, only 25 Tory MPs had openly confirmed they had written to Sir Graham demanding a confidence vote in her leadership.
Mrs May will today use a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in central London to argue that her Brexit deal will deliver the key demands of millions of voters in the 2016 EU referendum for the country to regain control of borders, law making and billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money a year.
She is expected to say: “We now have an intense week of negotiations ahead of us in the run-up to the special European Council on Sunday.
“During that time I expect us to hammer out the full and final details of the framework that will underpin our future relationship and I am confident that we can strike a deal at the council that I can take back to the House of Commons.
“The core elements of that deal are already in place.
“The Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in full, subject of course to final agreement being reached on the future framework.
End the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice
“That Agreement is a good one for the UK. It fulfills the wishes of the British people as expressed in the 2016 referendum.
“I have always had a very clear sense of the outcomes I wanted to deliver for people in these negotiations – control over our borders, by bringing an end to free movement, once and for all; control of our money, so we can decide for ourselves how to spend it, and can do so on priorities like our NHS; control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom and ensuring that our laws are made and enforced here in this country.”
Turning to migration, the Prime Minister will add: “Getting back full control of our borders is an issue of great importance to the British people.
“The United Kingdom is a country that values the contribution that immigration has made to our society and economy over many years.
End to free movement of people
“And in the future, outside the EU, immigration will continue to make a positive contribution to our national life.
“But the difference will be this: once we have left the EU, we will be fully in control of who comes here.
“It will no longer be the case that EU nationals, regardless of the skills or experience they have to offer, can jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi. Instead of a system based on where a person is from, we will have one that is built around the talents and skills a person has to offer.
“Not only will this deliver on the verdict of the referendum. It should lead to greater opportunity for young people in this country to access training and skilled employment.
E-gates for visitors from the USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada
“We want an immigration system for the future that everyone can have confidence in. Yes, a system that works for business.
“One that allows us to attract the brightest and the best from around the world, more streamlined application and entry processes.
“And we are already talking action in that regard, introducing e-gates for visitors from the USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
“But it also needs to command the confidence of the public by putting them in control of who comes to this country. That is what I am determined to deliver, and I look forward to working with you to achieve it.”
Theresa May will meet EU President Jean-Claude Juncker this week
Mrs May came out fighting against her Tory critics in an interview on Sky News yesterday.
She used the interview to warn that the Brexiteer attempt to topple her could backfire by undermining the country’s departure from the EU.
“A change of leadership at this point isn’t going to make the negotiations any easier and it isn’t going to change the parliamentary arithmetic.
“What it will do is bring in a degree of uncertainty. That is uncertainty for people and their jobs.
Theresa May is due to head to Brussels to meet EU leaders and discuss further her Brexit deal
“What it will do is mean that it is a risk that we delay the negotiations and that is a risk that Brexit gets delayed or frustrated,” Mrs May said.
She confirmed she will head to Brussels this week for talks with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to finalise a draft declaration outlining the UK’s future relationship with the bloc.
Anticipating a “critical week” in the negotiations, she said: “I will be going back to Brussels.
“The negotiating teams are working as we speak and obviously which day I go back to Brussels will partly be about how those negotiations go.
Tory and Brexiteer: Jacob Rees-Mogg
“I will be going back to Brussels, I will be in touch with other leaders as well, because the summit next week – and it is next week – this special European Council, will be among the European leaders.”
Mrs May also insisted she had not considered quitting after the backbench coup attempt led by Jacob Rees-Mogg was unleashed last week.
Asked if she had considered stepping down, the Prime Minister said: “No I haven’t. Of course it has been a tough week, actually these negotiations have been tough right from the start, but they were always going to get even more difficult right toward the end when we are coming to that conclusion.”
EU sources last night claimed to have squeezed further concessions out of the UK in technical talks about the declaration on the future relationship.
British fishery has been a big concern over the past few months
One diplomat claimed Brussels officials had inserted extra rules protecting the right of European fishing vessels to fish in UK waters and curbing Britain’s chances of gaining an economic advantage over EU rivals.
But a Downing Street source said: “In the final days of the negotiations, Brussels will continue to do what it always does in leaking claims about what has been achieved. These claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt.”
Mrs May is also expected to face down demands from a “gang of five” Brexiteer ministers to press for final changes to her withdrawal agreement.
Michael Gove was expected to meet with fellow Eurosceptics Andea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling and Liam Fox over breakfast this morning to discuss a last-ditch push to alter the deal.
But Whitehall insiders expect to the Prime Minister to insist that the withdrawal agreement has been agreed and cannot be rewritten.