May suggests free movement could continue during Brexit implementation

British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted Tuesday that the future EU-U.K. trade relationship would be made clear within two years, even if the final agreement would need to be ratified after Brexit.

"If you think about it, once we've got the deal, once we've agreed what the new relationship will be for the future, it will be necessary for there to be a period of time when businesses and governments are adjusting systems and so forth, depending on the nature of the deal".

During this time period, the free movement could still be allowed.

"By voting to leave the European Union, the British people asked the government to reduce the high levels of immigration that see a city the size of Hull and Newcastle come to the United Kingdom each year".

However, she stressed that control over borders and immigration was "part of the [Brexit] vote", and that the Government would deliver on these promises.

"What is crucial for the British public, what was part of the vote that they took previous year, was that they want to ensure that we have control of our borders and control of our immigration", she said.

"We absolutely know we need to attract the best in the world to come to our country".

The Labour MP Owen Smith, a supporter of the Open Britain group, said: "Bit by bit, the main planks of the Prime Minister's Brexit strategy are falling away".

The shape of future immigration policy is high on the list.

The EU's own draft guidelines for the Brexit negotiations indicate that Britain's exit should include transitional arrangements, which must be "clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms".

May is keen to say she does not want the talks to fail, and government officials, lawmakers and analysts say privately that she believes she has some strong cards to play, while also hoping that European Union officials will favor pragmatism over punishment.

It has been suggested that a transitional deal would last until at least 2022, with Brexit scheduled to take place in 2019.

  • Leroy Wright