EU Nationals in the UK April 2017

Thank you for contacting me recently about the status of EU nationals in the UK following the outcome of the EU referendum.

I appreciate that the result of last year's referendum and subsequent events have raised uncertainty over the future rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK. While I respect the outcome of the referendum, I have long been of the view that EU nationals in the UK should not be used as part of the negotiations on the UK's exit deal with the EU in any way.

However, as you will know, the Government has now triggered Article 50, starting the formal process of leaving the EU and beginning these negotiations, without having guaranteed the status of EU nationals in the UK. The Government has stated that securing the status of EU nationals in the UK is one if its "early priorities" for the UK's negotiations with the EU, but I believe the Government could still, and should, unilaterally guarantee these rights immediately.

I believe that this would not only be the right thing to do in giving people the reassurance they deserve, but it would also help the negotiations get off to a positive start and improve the chances of similar reassurances being given to British citizens living and working elsewhere in the EU.

I have therefore pressed the Government on this at every opportunity in the House of Commons since the referendum. Most recently, I supported a number of attempts to amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act during its consideration in Parliament to provide certainty for EU nationals in the UK. Unfortunately, the Government blocked amendments to this legislation.

This is an incredibly important issue and one that I am following very closely. I can assure you that I will continue to press the Government on this matter and I hope it can be resolved at the earliest opportunity, bringing to an end the unnecessary uncertainty that people are still facing.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.