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Wed, 20 January 2021

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Government aide quits over bid to guarantee EU citizens' rights after Brexit

Government aide quits over bid to guarantee EU citizens' rights after Brexit
2 min read

A government aide has quit his job over his bid to force Theresa May to guarantee the rights of EU citizens if there is a no-deal Brexit.


Alberto Costa, whose parents are Italian, resigned as parliamentary private secretary to Scottish Secretary David Mundell after tabling an amendment to the Government's Brexit business in the Commons.

He had called on the Government and Brussels to make a joint commitment to protect the rights of EU and UK ex-pats regardless of whether Britain leaves with or without a deal.

Labour accused the Prime Minister of sacking the South Leicestershire MP, but Downing Street insisted he had no option but to stand down.

A spokesman for Mrs May said: “He's resigned from the Government. There's a long-standing convention that members of the Government payroll don't table amendments to government bills.

“Clearly this is an issue that he feels strongly about and so he has chosen to resign from the Government.”

However, the spokesman said ministers will not oppose the amendment when it is voted on.

Earlier, Home Secretary Sajid Javid had sparked confusion by saying ministers would be supporting the amendment

When asked by Stuart McDonald at the Home Affairs Select Committee what was “wrong” with the amendment, Mr Javid replied: “Nothing”.

The Cabinet minister then asked when it was not the Government’s position to support it, to which the SNP MP replied “yesterday”, when the Prime Minister said it.

After laughing off the muddle, Mr Javid then added: “What Mr Costa is doing with this amendment, which I think is perfectly correct is trying to find more ways for Parliament to give that reassurance.”

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