May has informed her cabinet that the UK will take ‘the moral high ground’ over EU citizens in the event of no agreement being reached.
The leaked document, seen by The Telegraph, will allow EU migrants to continue to access the NHS and claim benefits because the rest of her government’s contingency plans for an acrimonious departure from the bloc rely “on the availability of existing labour”.
The offer would apply regardless of whether British migrants in European countries are granted the same rights by the EU, according to The Telegraph. It will be contained in the first tranche of more than 80 papers detailing contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit in different sectors, which the government will publish on Thursday.
The idea was welcomed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the pro-Brexit MP, who said: “I have always thought we should make a unilateral offer in this area. EU migrants came here legally and the UK is not the sort of country that applies retrospective legislation. They should have broadly the same rights as British citizens — no better or worse.”
However, David Jones, a former Brexit minister, said: “It’s got to be reciprocal. We have a large number of Britons in the EU and their interests have got to be reflected. We have got to look after our own people.”