Instead of putting obstacles in way of EU citizens, Tories must guarantee their post-Brexit rights now, warn Labour MEPs

Labour MEPs have urged Theresa May and the Tory Party to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit, as it emerged the Home Office is discouraging EU citizens from applying for permanent residence. The Labour Party yesterday said that it would guarantee the rights of EU citizens if it won the general election.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“Reports that the Home Office is seeking to discourage EU citizens from applying for permanent residence in the UK are disturbing and will only add to the fear and anxiety of the millions of EU citizens in the UK who have been worrying about their future since the Brexit vote.

“As elected representatives we will work to represent and protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK as well as the rights of British citizens living in Europe, and that is why we will hold a hearing in the European Parliament to gather evidence of the worrying increase of cases from concerned EU citizens following the referendum result.

“This joint hearing will include contributions from citizens, legal experts and civil society as well as representatives from the UK government and the European Commission, which will provide a clear overview of the situation.

“It is essential that more assurances are given, and Labour MEPs in the European Parliament will continue to lead calls for guarantees regarding the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and British citizens to remain in other EU countries.

“With EU-27 leaders meeting this weekend to finalise the EU’s negotiating guidelines, there is deep suspicion and anger at the use of people as bargaining chips in the Brexit talks, and the government’s continued refusal to budge on this issue means the talks will not start on the right note.

“The Labour Party has said that it will guarantee EU citizens’ rights if it wins the general election – Theresa May needs to do the same, and do so now.”

On May 11, the civil liberties, employment, and petitions committees will hold a joint hearing on the situation and rights of EU citizens in the UK. Among those at the hearing will be representatives from “The 3 Million” group, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the Home Office and the European Commisison.