Parliamentary pressure mounts on May regarding EU and UK expats rights to remain

Published:  17 Mar at 6 PM
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As the chaos around the triggering of Article 50 deepens, British MPs are pleading with Theresa May to ease up on EU expats and give them the right to remain in the UK.

During the past few days, members of both the lower and upper houses in government have ganged up on the PM, hoping to persuade her to make a unilateral decision about the plight of EU citizens living and working in Britain. Those still in politics who remember Thatcher’s famous ‘the lady’s not for turning’ speech may see the present situation as horrifyingly familiar, but so far May is refusing to budge.

Her claim, similar to those made by UK citizens living in Europe but coming from a totally different stance, is that the EU is holding British expats to ransom in order to use them as bargaining chips in the upcomi8ng negotiations. However, many UK lawmakers don’t believe that two wrongs will ever make a right. The latest group attempting to change her mind before it’s too late is the Exiting the EU Committee, a cross-party group of parliamentarians tasked with attempting to make the impossible possible.

The committee is urging the PM to immediately make a unilateral statement, rather than waiting for the result of a negotiated divorce. Its stance is clear, stating that EU citizens in the UK have integrated and put down roots, worked and paid tax, raised families and contributed to the country’s cultural and economic life, only to be denied a referendum vote and now at risk of losing everything.

Also mentioned are concerns over the effect of Brexit on the million and more British citizens now living in EU member states. According to a statement by the committee, neither group wants to be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations and both are unhappy about the lack of solid reassurance from the UK government.

EU expats' fears should be put to rest right now by giving those affected a clear picture of how they will be protected. The committee has also published a report in which it recommends parliament should guarantee pensions and healthcare for those wishing to stay in EU member states post-Brexit, and is also urging the government to compile a database of all EU citizens at present in the UK.
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