Uncertainty for EU citizens is utterly deplorable
Ahead of his 10 minute rule bill, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake writes about the importance of EU citizens being certain they are able to stay in the UK following the referendum.
Uncertainty and tumult has been the prevailing political condition since Britain voted to leave the European Union just over 3 weeks ago. In the immediate aftermath, the Prime Minister resigned. His apparent successor dramatically knifed by a modern day Iago whose own leadership ambitions were destroyed at the hands of a woman who subsequently decided she wouldn’t run for the Tory party leadership. So, we will now have a new PM nearly two months before we expected, but we only expected a new PM since the upheaval of the referendum.
Then there is the Labour party where a coup started to ferment as the Shadow Cabinet gradually imploded. But the barnacle-like Jeremy Corbyn remains as Labour MPs have thus far failed in their objective.
To those who follow politics the decision to leave the EU was the catalyst for a simultaneously fascinating and painful series of events. However, as the Liberal Democrats emphasised throughout the campaign to remain in the EU this decision affects the lives of people up and down the country. Three million UK based European citizens, in particular, woke up on Friday 24th June to an uncertain, scary, and entirely avoidable destiny.
EU citizens have for decades been able to live, work, study, and participate in local elections here in the UK. Unable to vote in this referendum however their voice was silenced during the campaign. Now these 3 million people find their entire futures in doubt.
Today I am introducing a 10 Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons to restore certainty to EU nationals. My Bill will grant EU citizens the right to stay in the UK following our withdrawal from the Union.
I am doing this because David Cameron’s reassurance that there will be no immediate change to the myriad rights for European citizens hold little weight now that he will be gone from office this week. Furthermore, the incoming Prime Minister, Theresa May, has held up as bargaining chips the lives of 3 million people living here and contributing richly to our culture and economy.
Not only are EU citizens suffering legal uncertainty, but a decrease in personal safety too. Racism has come to the fore since the referendum. In London alone three race hate crimes have occurred every hour. This is utterly deplorable and we need a strong statement from the very top that EU citizens are welcome and are safe here. Theresa May and David Cameron might be used to living with the uncertainty that dominates political lives but EU citizens living in the UK are not. They deserve better from Britain.
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