Cameron tells EU leaders they must offer UK more control over immigration

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PM advises Brussels summit that free movement was at heart of Britains decision to reject European Union

David Cameron told Europes leaders that they will have to offer the UK more control over immigration at the end of a fractious day where legislators across Europe clashed over the meaning and consequences of last weeks Brexit vote.

The British prime minster employed his last Brussels summit to tell Angela Merkel, Franois Hollande and other European heads of government that anxieties about unrestricted freedom of movement were at the heart of the decision by Britons to reject the EU.

Earlier in the day, however, many MEPs had turned their backs on Nigel Farage and jeered as the Ukip leader celebrated the result, although he depicted the purposes of the far-right French deputy Marine Le Pen, who told the European parliament: Look at how beautiful history is!

Speaking after the dinner, a pale and tired-looking Cameron expressed regret that this would be his final European Council, and said he and his fellow leaders had discussed their shared values. Of course its a sad night for me, because I didnt want to be in this position, he said.

He said he had explained to his equivalents how prominently the issue of freedom of movement had played during the course of its referendum campaign. I believe people recognised the force of the economic case for staying; but there was a very strong concern about freedom of movement.

He added that he believed Britain should try to retain the closest possible relationship with the rest of Europe – but it is impossible to have all the benefits of EU membership without the costs, something he said the next British government would have to think carefully about.

Merkel said after the dinner: The deliberations reflected the fact that everyone felt this was a sea change, a watershed moment. We have to made very clear we respect the outcome … We will continue to negotiate this relationship on a basis of friendship.

We cannot say clearly what this relationship will look like, but we have to say what conclusions we depict as the 27, she told, adding: We did not discuss the possibility that the UK will not invoke article 50, and I consider this an impossibility.

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David Cameron and Franois Hollande during the EU summit meeting. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/ AFP/ Getty Images

Tuesday nights dinner, of poached veal tenderloin and strawberries, came at the end of a dramatic day in Brussels, as political leaders and diplomats tried to weigh the implications of last weeks vote.

Farage was angrily confronted by European commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker. Im really surprised you are here. You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here? Juncker told, in front of a packed session of MEPs in the European parliament.

Farage told parliament that they were in denial. He said hardly any of the MEPs had ever done a proper task in their lives, or made one. We now offer a beacon of is expected to be democrats across the European continent, he said. The UK will not be the last member state to leave the EU. He added: Youre not chuckling now, are you?

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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