Three million EU migrants would be allowed to stay on welfare to send back home to their families if recommendations made by the Department for Exiting the European Union were put into place, the Sunday Times reports.
Migrants arriving in Britain after Wednesday will not be given access to benefits, but ministers have reportedly been warned that Brussels would pounce on attempts to withdraw benefits from EU nationals already in Britain by doing the same to British expats in Europe.
The development throws up a new dilemma for Theresa May, who on enacting the recommendations would risk breaking the Tories’ 2015 manifesto pledge to restrict child tax credits and benefits to EU migrants who have lived in Britain for four years.
The Tories were already forced to make a humiliating U-turn this month on Budget plans to increase national insurance rates for the self-employed – a promise the Conservatives made in their manifesto.
The Prime Minister has pledged to make resolving the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British expats living across Europe one of her main priorities in Brexit negotiations.
The recommendations could force Mrs May to break another manifesto pledge
Mrs May has already dealt with a humiliating U-turn over a Budget proposal earlier this month
But European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned last week it could take "several months" before their post-Brexit settlement rights can be guaranteed.
Eurocrats have already claimed they are preparing for Brexit talks to turn “nasty”.
Margrethe Vestager claimed the crumbling Brussels bloc is also reportedly gearing up for the possibility that Britain may rip itself from the bloc without a deal following the two-year negotiation period from when Article 50 is triggered.
Thousands of people marched in London Saturday in protest against Brexit Brexit: Results of how the UK voted Mon, March 20, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland
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GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
In a thinly-veiled warning to the British Government, EU competition commissioner Vestager said in an interview that she was prepared to protect the “jewel” of the single market against rivalry from the UK.
She said: “We are prepared for a conflictual situation. It will not be easy.”
Vestager added that the European Commission has devised “very thorough” contingency plans if negotiations turn sour after Theresa May triggers Article 50 next week.