German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned she will abandon attempts to keep Britain in the European Union if it pursues its plans to limit the free movement of migrant workers, writes i.

The British daily cites German magazine Der Spiegel, which reports that Merkel warned “there will be no going back” if British prime minister David Cameron “insisted on limiting the number of immigrants from other EU states”. i recalls that Cameron’s plans to impose new quotas have already brought a sharp rebuke from outgoing European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, but adds that in this case, “there were signs that the German warning may have been heeded,” as Cameron was now —

looking at ways to stretch existing EU rules “to their limits” rather than insist on measures that would require a treaty change. This could include deporting foreign nationals after three months if they had not found a job and were unable to support themselves.