Theresa May: Britain and EU ‘very close to agreement’ on citizens’ rights
Britain and the European Union are close to reaching agreement on the future of EU residents in the UK and British citizens on the continent, Theresa May has said.
The Prime Minister has long faced calls to guarantee rights for EU citizens currently living in the UK to remain, but has stopped short of doing so until the EU 27 offer the same to British citizens living abroad.
When confronted yesterday by a caller on LBC radio, asking what impact failing to reach a trade deal with the bloc would have on those rights, Mrs May said: “We will look at the arrangements that we would put in place in relation to no deal - we're doing work on that at the moment.
“My overall message is I want EU citizens to stay here in the UK. We're not going to be throwing EU citizens living here out of the UK in the future.”
However when pressed once again on the matter by Labour MP Karen Buck at Prime Minister’s Questions, she confirmed talks on the issue were nearing a conclusion.
“Of course if there is 'no deal' then obviously we will have to have arrangements with other member states about not just EU citizens here but UK citizens in those member states...,” she said.
“What we’re doing is trying to get the best deal for the United Kingdom on citizens' rights, we're very close to agreement, we want EU citizens to stay in the UK because we value the contribution they're making.”
'NO DEAL' PREPARATIONS
Mrs May also confirmed the Government was close to confirming how departments will receive additional funding to prepare for Britain's withdrawal from the bloc, including that of a 'no deal' scenario.
She echoed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s comments to the Treasury select committee this morning that £250m had been granted to departments out of its reserve fund to cope with the impact of Brexit planning.
"The Treasury has committed over £250m of new money to departments like Defra, the Home Office, HMRC and Department for Transport in this financial year for Brexit preparations and in some cases departments will need to spend money before the relevant legislation has gone through the House," she said.
“And I can tell the House that the Treasury will write to departments and to the Public Accounts Committee explaining this process shortly. So where money needs to be spent, it will be spent."
Mr Hammond earlier said the Treasury would not contemplate increasing departmental budgets to cope with a “no deal” outcome, other than through reserves, until that appeared likely to be the final outcome.
The Chancellor also told MPs he would not spend cash as a "demonstration point" before it is absolutely necessary.