Today, I have written to leaders of European socialist parties to coordinate lobbying, at every level of the EU, for the rights of British citizens abroad and to reaffirm Labour’s commitment to the rights of EU residents in the UK.
As socialists, we must stand up for the rights of everybody – we must end the uncertainty and stop our fellow citizens being used as bargaining chips.
Theresa May has resisted Labour calls for the government to act unilaterally to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK. It currently looks likely to take the issue of rights for EU migrants in the UK and British migrants in the EU into what could be a difficult and unpredictable period of negotiations.
This is the reason why I have written, as a friend and sister party colleague, asking for you and your government to work formally with other socialist colleagues in the EU council and insist that the current rights of both EU and British citizens are guaranteed and insist this decision is the first to be made once Article 50 is triggered.
As I have written to my colleagues in Europe “As socialist parties, we all agree that we must work together to make sure the basic values we share are fully represented in a final agreement between Britain and the EU. Therefore I see no better way to start by making this issue a key priority for us in the coming months, we cannot allow our citizens, our neighbours and our friends be subject to further uncertainty or be used as a bargaining chip.”
“We as socialists must stand up for the rights of everybody and I am confident this can be done through the Brexit process and beyond, if we stay true to our beliefs and work together.”