General election 2019: Boris Johnson pledges new immigration rules by 2021

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New immigration rules will be in place by 1 January, 2021, if the Tories win the election, Boris Johnson has said.

The PM said the Australian-style points system was among “immediate steps” to be introduced within a year of Brexit.

He said being free of EU rules would make it easier to give state aid to UK industries in trouble and bring in “buy British” guidelines for public bodies.

Labour has said the PM’s timetable is misleading and his hope of agreeing an EU trade deal next year is unrealistic.

At a news conference in Westminster, the PM warned about the risk of there being no clear winner in the 12 December election, saying this would result in the Brexit “deadlock” being perpetuated.

Earlier on Friday, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was hoping for another hung parliament, with her party holding the balance of power.

Mr Johnson has guaranteed that if the Conservatives win a working majority then the UK will leave the EU by 31 January at the latest.

‘Brexit roadmap’

Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, free movement from the EU will continue for 11 months after Brexit during a transition period.

Mr Johnson said a new system would be in place when the current rules end on 31 December 2020.

“The government will take steps to ensure that the Australian-style points-based system is in place by 1 January 2021,” he said.

“By lowering the number of unskilled immigrants, the system will remove a major force that puts a downward pressure on people’s wages and reduce the overall level of immigration.”

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The former Labour MP Gisela Stuart said voting for Brexit “didn’t make her a Tory”

He set out what he called a “Brexit roadmap” designed to show voters the benefits of leaving the EU.

The prime minister said a re-elected Conservative government would take “immediate steps” to introduce new rules to take effect after the transition period is due to finish at the end of 2020.

These would include a new state aid regime to help industries in trouble, scrapping VAT on sanitary products and promoting a “buy British” rule for public bodies to help farmers.

Mr Johnson said only a Conservative victory would lift the country out of its “political morass”.

“If there is a Conservative majority government we can deliver the change that people voted for by getting Brexit done.”

Appearing alongside Mr Johnson was the former Labour minister and ex-chairwoman of Vote Leave, Gisela Stuart, who said she would be voting Conservative to deliver Brexit.

Urging others to do the same, she said this was the “best option” for Leave supporters.