Commenting on the Prime Minister’s message to EU nationals living in Britain today, Ian Murray MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:
“The Prime Minister’s warm words are worth nothing to the three million people whose status and rights as UK residents remain uncertain.
“Just last week, she pointedly failed to guarantee their rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which the Government are still threatening. And her International Trade Secretary described Europeans living in Britain as “cards” to be played in a game of poker.
“It is unacceptable that so many people – our friends, colleagues and neighbours – remain in legal limbo 15 months after the referendum. The Government needs to immediately guarantee their status, come what may, and drop their dangerous threat to leave the EU without an agreement.”
Notes to editors:
Quotes by Government Ministers and Leave campaigners contradicting May’s claim that EU nationals were never treated as bargaining chips:
Theresa May: “But I think the reaction that we have seen shows why it was absolutely right for us not to do what the Labour Party wanted us to do, which was to simply give away the guarantee for rights of EU citizens here in the UK, because, as we have seen, that would have left UK citizens in Europe high and dry.” (30 November 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-says-british-ex-pats-would-be-left-high-and-dry-if-she-guaranteed-the-rights-of-eu-a7448286.html)
Theresa May: “Theresa May Can’t Guarantee Rights Of EU Citizens If There’s No Brexit Deal” (10 October 2017,http://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/iain-dale/prime-minister-cant-guarantee-eu-citizens-no-deal/)
Liam Fox: He said any other strategy “would be to hand over one of our main cards in the negotiations and doesn’t necessarily make sense at this point”. (4 October 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/04/liam-fox-refuses-to-guarantee-right-of-eu-citizens-to-remain-in-uk)
Jacob Rees-Mogg: “‘The rights of EU citizens must evolve in line with the rights of British nationals. To say their rights will be frozen in aspic is not serious and not deliverable.” He said it would be ‘absurd’ for any future changes to citizens’ rights in the UK not to apply to EU nationals. (30 September 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4935358/Brexiteers-rage-PM-promise-Merkel.html)