The automatic right of European Union citizens to live and work in Britain will end in March 2019 with Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says, after her ministers publicly differed over the shape of the divorce with the EU.
Since May's failed gamble on a snap election last month, the future of Brexit has been thrown into question with squabbling between her ministers over the pace, tone and terms of Britain's departure from the club it joined in 1973.
May has faced public pressure to temper her plans for a clean break from the EU.
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The level of discord is such that one opposition politician spoke of "civil war" within the government over Brexit and some of the bloc's most powerful politicians have even raised the prospect of Britain scrapping Brexit.
May has repeatedly said Brexit will take place as scheduled, in late March 2019.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury said the chance of this was "infinitesimally small" because political wrangling will prevent the detailed work that is needed.
Justin Welby, who is the spiritual head of the Anglican communion of millions of Christians globally and sits in the House of Lords, said domestic political wrangling would impede the detailed work that is needed for Brexit.
In response, May's spokesman said the government remained committed to the exit timetable.
Immigration from the EU is one of the most contentious issues because the economy relies on imported labour but many British voters are angry over what they consider to be uncontrolled immigration.
"Free movement will end in March 2019," May's spokesman told reporters.
"Other elements of the post-Brexit immigration system will be brought forward in due course. It would be wrong to speculate on what these might look like or to suggest that free movement will continue as it is now."
The British government has for years failed to meet a pledge to reduce net migration below 100,000 a year. May's spokesman said it would take time to get the numbers down, but the government was committed to doing so.
The EU's top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors last week that negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU are now less likely to start in October due to a lack of progress at the initial stage of talks about the breakup.