Philip Hammond says EU nationals can keep moving to the UK

Mark Sands
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Theresa May Attends Prime Minister's Questions
The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Chancellor Philip Hammond has signalled that European nationals may be able to keep moving to the UK for as long as two years, despite Downing Street today kicking off the Brexit process.

Prime Minister Theresa May will formally launch negotiations today, but speaking on BBC Radio, Hammond indicated there will be no immediate cut-off on migration.

"Of course they can come here after today," told the Today programme.

"We remain full members of the EU with all the obligations and all the rights of membership."

Read More: These leading Brexiteers have joined calls to protect EU nationals' rights

Pressed on whether European nationals moving to the UK during the negotiation would retain "full rights" after Brexit, Hammond said: "What happens today is we formally start the process of negotiating our exit from the European Union.

"But we remain full members of the European Union for the next two years, subject to all the rules and obligations of membership."

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The chancellor also played down talk of a Brexit divorce bill, branding claims of a £60bn settlement "very aggressive".

"We simply do not recognise some of the very large numbers that have been bandied about in Brussels," Hammond said.

"I'm not surprised they've been bandied about. This is after all a negotiation," he said.

"It's not surprising to me that our negotiating partners are setting out a very aggressive starting line for the discussion."

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