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EU citizens deserve the right to stay

February 27, 2020 11:49 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

During the 2016 referendum campaign, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Michael Gove issued a joint statement promising to automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens.

They declared: "There will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present."

Fast forward to today and the Conservatives have broken these promises, leaving EU citizens under a cloud of uncertainty.

The Tories have broken their promises and left EU citizens under a cloud of uncertainty.

Despite their guarantees in last year's Tory manifesto, Boris Johnson's Government has made no attempt to reassure those who are wishing to stay. Instead, they introduced a "Settled Status" scheme that has failed to provide reassurance or security.

The Conservatives are also refusing to provide EU citizens with physical proof of their rights. Instead, they have resorted to a digital code and an online Home Office database, putting them at risk of discrimination.

This is unacceptable.

Europeans who have made their lives here in the UK contribute enormously to our economy, our public services and our society. They must not be put at risk of a new Windrush-style scandal.

No one seriously believes that the Home Office will be able to grant settled status to everyone who's eligible by June next year. Thousands will be left effectively undocumented and subject to the Conservatives' Hostile Environment - at risk of eviction, detention and even deportation.

Europeans who have made their lives here in the UK contribute enormously to our economy, our public services and our society.

With the Bill I am tabling today, the Liberal Democrats are continuing to fight for EU citizens.

We are calling for these citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, without the need to apply. They should be able to register for physical proof of their status, with no arbitrary deadline.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. They deserve better. If you agree, show your support by signing the Liberal Democrat petition here.