On Monday 26 June, the Home Office published its proposals regarding the status of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.
Unfortunately, it is not as generous as the proposals previously made by the EU and has not allayed many of the concerns of EU citizens living in the UK. The proposals are subject to ongoing negotiations between the UK government and the EU, but this did not stop the Home Office producing a video on Twitter with the message ‘find out how Brexit will affect you’. Nothing is certain until the negotiations have taken place.
EU citizens living in the Newbury constituency, and their UK family and friends, shared their concerns with Richard Benyon MP at a public meeting on 2 March and were told they should not worry about being granted the right to remain in the UK, but eleven days later he voted to the contrary. You can see the details in my letter published in this week’s Newbury Weekly News.
On March 2 this year, Richard Benyon MP told a public meeting at St Nicolas Church Hall that EU citizens living in the constituency should not worry about Brexit and whether they would be granted the right to remain in the UK. He said there was no appetite in Parliament to evict them from the country.
However 11 days later, according to the They Work For You website, Mr Benyon voted “against guaranteeing EU derived rights, and the potential to acquire residency rights, for EU and EEA citizens legally resident in the UK”. Now that Brexit negotiations are underway perhaps EU citizens in the constituency would be well advised to ask Mr Benyon for written assurances about his stance on this issue.
It would be interesting to know what Mr Benyon’s justification for this is and hopefully he will take the opportunity to enlighten us in next week’s newspaper. Last week in the House of Commons, when speaking about Brexit, he acknowledged that local businesses need to be able to recruit the best people to keep them competitive. There does not appear to be consistency between his pronouncements and his voting record.
Whatever voters’ views are about Brexit and freedom of movement of people, and however they voted in the EU referendum, they deserve honesty from their MP about what his own views are. On that basis, an open and frank exchange of views can take place, and people can make fully informed decisions when choosing who to vote for as their MP.