I am hopeful that the Government will let Parliament vote on the status of EU citizens currently living in the UK during Committee Stage of the Brexit Bill today (8th February).
Given the number of amendments tabled to the Bill on this issue and the huge concern across the country Parliament must be given the opportunity to vote on the future of EU citizens who call our country home.
When these amendments were debated on Monday there was not time for me to speak, but I wanted to set out my position publicly and have copied what I wanted to say below:
I held a public meeting on Friday night in Tottenham and heard from many of the European nationals who live and work in my constituency.
They have been living here for 10, 20, 30 years. They have work hard, contributed to our economy, paid their taxes supported our public services. They have started families and raised their children here. This country is their home.
They are heart-broken that they are being treated like bargaining chips. They live every day surrounded by uncertainty and anxiety – not knowing what the future holds for them and their families, and having to reassure their children that they won’t be deported when the truth is that they don’t actually know.
They are trying to get permanent residency status before Article 50 is triggered but they won’t be able to. There are far too many applicants and the system has become overwhelmed.
Home Office rules also state that many European citizens must have private medical insurance to quality for permanent residence in the UK meaning that thousands of people are living in limbo.
The Government have said time and again that they must wait until reciprocal arrangements are guaranteed for UK citizens living in Europe.
At a time when the leader of the free world is putting refugee bans in place and threatening to deport people we need to show courage and leadership. The world is watching and we must do what is right.