MPs support Britons keeping EU citizenship

British houses of parliament seen across river at sunset
MPs gave their backing to Britons maintaining EU citizenship

There were bids yesterday by both the UK’s House of Commons and the European Parliament to bolster Britons’ post-Brexit rights

The UK’s House of Commons yesterday passed a motion which asked the government to seek to ensure Britons may retain EU citizenship after Brexit.

The motion, on an ‘Opposition Day’, when the smaller parties are allowed to put forward a topic for debate, is not binding on the government but Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams, who moved the motion, said in conclusion of the debate: “I will be very glad to be able to tell our European friends that this house now supports the idea of maintaining EU citizenship rights.”

Following such a motion, the government usually responds with a statement to MPs within no more than 12 weeks.

The motion also included wording asking the government to seek for the UK to remain in the EU’s single market, a position which the Conservative government currently rejects.

During the debate Minister for Immigration Caroline Noakes said that the UK would be willing to discuss with the EU an idea such as ‘associate EU citizenship’, however so far the EU had not proposed it and the government considers that otherwise EU citizenship is tied to citizenship of an EU state, so Britons will lose it after Brexit unless they have double nationality.

Also yesterday, the European Parliament released a draft of a new resolution on its Brexit stance, in which it:

-          Called for Britons abroad in the EU to retain local voting rights

-          Said Britons abroad should retain full ‘onward’ free movement rights

-          Supported the fact that the European Commission’s recent draft withdrawal treaty referred to protection of residence rights of ‘future partners or spouses’

-          Insists that people arriving during the transition period have the same rights as those who came before

-           ‘Notes’ the recent Amsterdam case concerning the preservation of EU citizenship for UK citizens   

The parliament also called for procedures for expats to acquire permanent resident status to be simple and clear and of a ‘declaratory nature’ with the ‘burden of proof’ on the authorities.

A final vote on the resolution is expected on Wednesday next week.

The European Parliament is not the main party to the negotiations - that is the Commission - but it has an advisory role and a final vote (potentially a veto) on the exit treaty.

Other recent Brexit articles:

Post-Brexit trade will be ‘complicated and costly’ 

Problems continue with cartes de séjour for Britons 

Embassy to hold online Brexit Q&A 

For more see our Brexit section at this link. 

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