In a recent report, the influential Migration Watch UK recommended a hard Brexit, claiming that immigration from the EU would “remain high” if Britain stayed in the single market.
“It is not possible to be both a member of the European single market and in control of EU immigration,” it said.
“If the UK remains a member of the single market, EU migration will remain high and is unlikely to fall below 155,000 a year in the medium term.”
But the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, said it was “no surprise that Ukip’s favourite think-tank is pushing for a hard Brexit that would rip Britain out of the single market, costing jobs and risking the livelihoods of thousands of British people.”
Criticising the findings, he said the majority of people in the UK wish to stay in the single market.
“Today’s report from Migration Watch makes it crystal clear that remaining in the EU’s single market will mean the continuation of uncontrolled immigration,” he said. “Throughout the EU referendum campaign both sides made it utterly apparent that voting to leave the European Union meant leaving the single market.
UK controlling its borders and reducing immigration – but also British companies having the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the single market.”