Southwark’s political parties have come together to demand that the Government guarantees the rights of EU residents living in Southwark via a motion I tabled at the recent full council assembly. This is aimed to help reassure residents by calling on the Councils Cabinet to lobby the Government and the borough’s MPs to secure the right to remain for EU citizens living in the borough.
Southwark Council in its role as a community leader, should join in fighting the corner of all our residents, so I’m pleased the Liberal Democrat motion received unanimous support from all councillors and parties. Thank you.
This contrasts with the complete lack of action at a national level. Conservative Party ministers are instead using the right to remain as a crude bargaining chip in its Brexit negotiations with the EU. This is playing with millions of people’s lives and is unacceptable. As a professional negotiator the UK would also gain significantly more leverage by offering these rights straight off. It would show compassion and realism. It would be hard for thE EU to not respond in kind.
Since the referendum vote to leave the European Union on 23 June, the lack of any Government response on the future rights of EU citizens already living in the country has created huge uncertainty. There are 22,000 registered EU voters in Southwark and the EU referendum result has made many people nervous about their future here.
There has been a rise in the number of hate crimes and incidents of racial abuse being reported against EU citizens with a 52% increase reported in London by the Police.
Liberal Democrat councillors also seconded a motion on hate crime that called on the Council to work with the police and local organisations to tackle all reported incidents of racism and xenophobia in Southwark, as well as support victims of hate crimes.
Nationally, the Liberal Democrats are calling for existing EU citizens to be given the right-to-remain with London MP Tom Brake introducing a Bill in Parliament earlier this month urging the Government to commit to this policy. The Party has also launched an online petition on EU citizen rights: http://change.libdems.org.uk/right-to-stay