David Woodard

Local Council champion and Liberal Democrat campaigner in central Northumberland Learn more

We must end uncertainty on the rights of EU citizens

by David Woodard on 6 November, 2018

We must end the uncertainty for the 3.6 million EU citizens who live, work and study here in the UK and have been made to put their lives on hold.

The result of the EU referendum held on June 23rd 2016 changed an awful lot: the Prime Minister, the economic outlook, Britain’s political discourse and our standing in the world. But the 3.6 million citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK have been affected more than most. For them, the referendum created a cloud of uncertainty that they’ve been living under ever since. Would they be able to continue to live, work and study here if the UK leaves the EU?

Last week, that uncertainty was heightened by the Immigration Minister. Far from guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, she said that they would be subject to the same immigration checks as new arrivals, with no documentation to demonstrate their rights.
The Home Secretary soon contradicted his Minister, only for the Prime Minister’s spokesperson to contradict them both. “The work is ongoing and we will set out the details in due course,” he said, as if he was talking about a new extension on his house or his holiday plans for Christmas – not the lives of 3.6 million people.

This confusion, delay and indecision is completely unacceptable. The Conservative Government is holding millions of people in limbo while Ministers fight amongst themselves.

The Government must honour the agreement on citizens’ rights to provide certainty. The current fingers-crossed situation is inhumane and unjustifiable.

Yesterday, after months of campaigning, Liberal Democrat MPs Ed Davey and Tom Brake secured a promise from the Government that those rights would be protected in a draft Withdrawal Agreement. However, there is no guarantee that a Withdrawal Agreement will be finalised before 29th March next year.

The Liberal Democrats demand better.

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