LONDON: Home Secretary Sajid Javid has cast doubt on whether plans for Britain’s future immigration system will be unveiled before MPs vote on the Brexit deal. He told the Commons Home Affairs Committee a long-awaited white paper on the proposals is “almost there” and will be published “very shortly”.
But he was only able to say he “hoped” it would be before the vote on December 11.
Mr Javid said: “The Government hasn’t set a final publication date for the white paper. I would certainly expect it by the end of this year, in December.”
Pressed on whether the document will be published before the vote, he said: “I’m afraid I can’t be more specific. “The vote is on the 11th. I hope it will come before that. But I’m not in a position to be too specific on the date right now.”
He continued: “Whether we have a successful deal with the European Union, or whether we leave with no deal, we are still going to have a new immigration system and the white paper will talk to that new immigration system.
“Whatever happens, whether the meaningful vote passes, whether the meaningful vote does not pass, the paper will still inform us and is still very valuable.”
The Home Secretary declined to comment on reports that the proposals are at the centre of a Cabinet dispute. He added: “We are almost there. We have a very good draft. A number of ministries are looking at it. I know, certainly, that it will be published in December.”
Mr Javid acknowledged he would have preferred to have seen the paper released earlier. “I think when I first came into the department I was hoping that things were more ready than they actually were,” he added.