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Rugby Lib Dems contact Clegg about status of EU citizens in the UK

August 9, 2016 1:13 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat logo largeRugby Liberal Democrats have written to Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP about the status of EU citizens in the UK following the Brexit vote in June.

On 20 July Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister, returned to front line politics as the Lib Dem EU Spokesperson. Over the coming months Nick Clegg will be working with a range of experts, to set out the difficult questions the Government has to answer in a host of areas that will be affected by Brexit.

In a letter to Mr Clegg, Rugby Liberal Democrats raise their concerns that more than a month after the Brexit vote, many EU citizens living in the UK are in a state of limbo, not knowing what the future holds.

Rugby Lib Dems want the national party to campaign to persuade the Government to offer free and expedited British Citizenship to those that wish to take it up. By doing so Rugby Lib Dems believe that this provides EU citizens in the UK with a sounder footing on which to continue to contribute to the UK economy and build their lives here.

The local party is also concerned about the cost implications of the current rules and have raised the issue of pushing for the inclusion of dual nationality as part of the Brexit negotiations.

The 2011 Census shows that around 12% of Rugby Borough's residents were born outside the UK. 5.9% being from Europe, 1.9% Africa, 2.6% Asia, and 1.2% from the rest of the world.

Nick Clegg has recently launched the first briefing paper of his Brexit Challenge project, which analyses the options facing the Government if it intends for Britain to retain significant access to the Single Market. The briefing paper can be read here:

http://www.libdems.org.uk/clegg_no_easy_options_on_single_market_access

Letter to Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP from Rugby Libderal Democrats Local Party Executive Committee

Rugby Liberal Democrats

C/O 41 Bracken Drive

Rugby

Warwickshire

CV22 6SL

31 July 2016

Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Lib Dems EU Spokesperson

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

Dear Nick,

Re: Status of EU citizens in the UK

Congratulations on your appointment as the Lib Dems Spokesperson on the EU. We are confident you will do a great job challenging the Government and we wish you every success in your new role.

Rugby Lib Dems are increasingly concerned that more than a month after the Brexit vote, many EU citizens living in the UK are in a state of limbo, not knowing what the future holds. The uncertainty is being furthered by our new Prime Minister who believes EU citizens in the UK should be factored into negotiations with people's lives used as bargaining chips.

On 6 July the issue was debated in Parliament and a vote of 245 to 2 was made in favour of guaranteeing the status of EU citizens living in the UK. However, we are concerned that the failure of the Government to attend the debate and the vote having no impact on Government policy has meant there was little change in the uncertain future of many men, women and children who have settled in the UK.

We welcome the Bill tabled by fellow Lib Dem MP Tom Brake, which would give European citizens the right to stay in the country on the UK's departure from the EU. However, Rugby Lib Dems would like the Party to go further and campaign to persuade the Government to offer free and expedited British Citizenship to those that wish to take it up.

By doing so we believe that this provides EU citizens in the UK with a sounder footing on which to continue to contribute to the UK economy and build their lives here. We acknowledge that a Bill guaranteeing EU citizens the right to stay in the UK is a step in the right direction, but we are concerned that it would not be binding on future governments.

We are also concerned about the cost implications of the current rules. For instance, many EU citizens already have the right to stay through marriage or being resident in the UK for more than five years. Many can also apply for British citizenship, but it's incredibly expensive applying for naturalisation. It is currently £1236 for an adult, £936 for a child. As a starting point a family of four is looking at £4344.

Finally, we would also like to raise the issue of pushing for the inclusion of dual nationality as part of the Brexit negotiations. We feel it is very important not to put people who are no doubt as proud of their origins as you or I in the heart wrenching situation of having to give up their own nationality.

We hope that you can use our views to campaign in your new role and we look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Rugby Liberal Democrats Local Party Executive Committee