Ministers 'forced to drop plans to end free movement on October 31'

() Ministers 'are forced to abandon plans to end EU free movement rules on October 31 amid fears the government would be sued' Home Secretary Priti Patel wanted EU free movement rules to end on October 31 Proposals to ditch the arrangements in one swoop were struck out by lawyers Warnings that the plan could have opened the government to being sued Free movement rules now expected to be dismantled piece by piece after Brexit 

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 14:37 BST, 1 September 2019 | Updated: 15:20 BST, 1 September 2019

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Ministers have been forced to abandon plans to scrap EU free movement rules at midnight on October 31 amid fears the government will be sued, it was claimed today.  

Home Secretary Priti Patel made clear last month that she wanted the arrangements - regarded as one of the main drivers of the 2016 Brexit referendum result - to end immediately after the UK leaves the bloc.

However, proposals to ditch the rules in one swoop have apparently been shelved after lawyers hired by the Home Office warned it could cause chaos. 

According to the Sunday Times, ministers wanted to use the Immigration Bill to make the change, but realised it will not become law in time for the Halloween deadline.

They also considered using executive powers in the EU Withdrawal Act, but were informed that would open the government to legal action.

Free movement rules are believed to have been one of the main drivers of the Brexit vote in the 2016 referendum (file picture)

Free movement rules are believed to have been one of the main drivers of the Brexit vote in the 2016 referendum (file picture) 

Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured in Dover last month) made clear she wanted the arrangements to end immediately after Brexit

Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured in Dover last month) made clear she wanted the arrangements to end immediately after Brexit

The government's Brexit war cabinet

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