Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that Europeans living in the UK after Brexit should “not worry” because they will not be made to leave.
Prime Minister Theresa May has praised “the contribution to our society and economy” of EU migrants as she attempts to hold off a Conservative rebellion over the rights of some three million European nationals hoping to stay in Britain after Brexit.
She has signalled she wants to guarantee their right to stay in the UK “as soon as possible” – but as part of a deal which also protects the rights of an estimated 1.2 million Brits living in the EU.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed Angela Merkel is refusing to do a deal to secure EU migrants in Britain
The idea that it can deport three million people is bonkers
He said: “It’s a great pity that Mrs Merkel, for domestic German political reasons, is refusing to do an immediate deal on this.
“I’m all in favour. It’s a reality, I think everyone will stay and they should not worry.”
However, he cast doubt on the ability of the Home Office to handle the pressure of mass deportations, if a compromise is not reached between the Prime Minister and Brussels.
“The Home Office can barely deport five criminals at the end of their sentence,” Mr Rees-Mogg added.
Mrs Merkel has been accused of playing politics with the lives of EU migrants
“The idea that it can deport three million people is bonkers and people should know that – it won’t happen.”
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
This comes as former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman is battling for the backing of Conservatives for an amendment which guarantees the rights of the EU nationals living in Britain before the June 23 referendum last year.
The amendment already has the backing of the Lib Dems, SNP and the one Green MP – although it would need the support of a number of Tories for it to pass.
The Labour MP said: “It is unthinkable they would be deported, their families divided because we have decided to leave the EU.”
BORDER-FREE Schengen: Countries you can visit WITHOUT a passport
Mon, January 23, 2017
If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another. The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
1 of 25
Mrs May has warned her party members who are considering joining the potential rebellion that they would be “obstructing” the will of the people if they chose to vote with Labour and the SNP to change the Bill.
The Prime Minister has been criticised for her stance relying on a Europe-wide deal to be brokered on EU migrants living in Britain.
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said there was an “overwhelming ethical case” to deliver a pledge immediately, as EU citizens should not become “bargaining chips” in any negotiations.
He added: “The Treasury Committee has heard a good deal of evidence to suggest the failure to guarantee the rights of EU nationals is now beginning to damage the economy.”