As the Tory leadership debacle continues, increasing the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, today I challenged Ministers on securing citizens’ rights in the face of the growing uncertainty. Speaking for the opposition, in response to an Urgent Question to the Government from Alberto Costa MP, I highlighted how EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU have had their lives thrown into uncertainty and pressed the Government whether to treat the issue with urgency.
In July 2016, Labour put in a motion to provide a unilateral guarantee to the rights of EU Citizens in the UK; had this been done, reciprocal agreements to protect the rights of Brits in the EU 27 could have been secured and we would have protected citizens from the chaos of Theresa May’s failed withdrawal negotiations.
When the Government backed off from voting on their Withdrawal Deal in December, it was clear that this issue would need addressing, yet the Government held back. It took a motion from Alberto Costa in February to secure action from the Government. Yet even then, after Michel Barnier wrote to the Secretary of State on the 25th March, it took three long months for him to reply.
I will continue to campaign to protect the rights of EU Citizens and UK Citizens in the EU. You can watch the full exchange here.