After Article 50 was triggered yesterday, 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK and up to 1.6 million UK citizens living in Europe have been turned into bargaining chip.
They came here under freedom of movement and were denied a vote in the EU referendum are now in limbo worrying about their futures. A million EU citizens live in London alone. They are Londoners, they contribute hugely to our economic, social, cultural life. They have partners,friends and family in the UK. They deserve to be left in no doubt that they will be able to continue living here. The PM said securing their rights was an “early priority” yet stopped short here and now offering a cast iron guarantee. Equally, the EU should offer the same guarantee to UK citizens living on the continent. These are people not bargaining chips.
The government must end this now. Britain didn’t vote to treat migrants as second class citizens, yet migrants’ voices clearly not been heard. We have some 36,000 EU nationals ( 2015 figures ) living in the City of Westminster, so we must ask the council to call on the government to immediately and unconditionally secure the rights of EU migrants, their families and dependents.
If we fail to support EU citizens in the fight to defend their rights, we will fail to protect the rights upon which our futures depend as well.