Nicola Sturgeon says May's position on EU nationals is 'completely disgusting'

Posted On: 
5th July 2016

Nicola Sturgeon has launched a stinging attack on Theresa May, calling the Home Secretary “disgusting” for failing to rule out deporting EU nationals following the Brexit vote.

Nicola Sturgeon in Brussels last week - she is determined to keep Scotland in the EU

Ms May, who is the frontrunner in the race to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, said on the weekend that the status of EU nationals would be “part of the negotiation” over Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc.

Both she and Home Office colleague James Brokenshire said it was important to ensure British citizens living overseas were guaranteed the same rights as EU citizens in the UK.

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“As part of the negotiation we will need to look at this question of people who are here in the UK from the EU,” Ms May told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

“I want to ensure that we’re able to not just guarantee a position for those people but guarantee the position for British citizens who are over in other member states, in other countries in Europe, and living there. Nobody necessarily stays anywhere forever.”

That drew a furious reaction from SNP leader Ms Sturgeon, who told Channel 4:

“I think it is disgraceful. I think it is completely disgusting that you’ve got a candidate for prime minster who seems to think that human beings are bargaining chips.

“People who have come to Scotland to other parts of the United Kingdom have built lives here. They’ve raised family here, got jobs here, have paid taxes here.”

The First Minister, who is determined to keep Scotland in the EU despite the vote on 23 June, called on both Mr Cameron and all the Tory MPs running for the leadership to guarantee EU nationals’ rights.

“These are human beings with real lives and the uncertainty and the fear that any of them face right now could be ended at a stroke if we had all the candidates for prime minister simply say that the right to remain here is not in question and I call again upon Theresa May and on the current prime minister to do that,” she said.

“That would be the humane thing to do and I even at this stage hope that that’s a direction they will take.”