LONDON (Reuters) – Britain could bring in tough new controls on immigration from the European Union without actually having to leave the bloc, former prime minister Tony Blair said on Sunday.

Concerns over the impact of high levels of immigration on public services and housing were cited as a factor by many who voted to leave the EU in last year’s referendum.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government has said free movement of EU citizens coming to Britain must end.

Many Brexit supporters blame Blair’s government, which allowed citizens of former communist states to settle immediately in Britain despite a long transition period implemented by other EU countries, for a big influx of EU migrants from 2004.

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