Write to MPs to stop no-deal, say campaigners

The Houses of Parliament seen from across the River Thames in London

Britons living abroad in the EU are being asked to write to their UK MPs (the MP of the constituency where they last lived in the UK) to show support for a bill which will aim today to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Rights campaigners are encouraging Britons living abroad in the EU to send a brief personal email to the MP telling them why a no-deal Brexit would be bad for them.

You can find details of MPs contact emails at this website.

It comes as a bill is being launched by Labour’s Hilary Benn who, as chairman of the Brexit Steering Group for the UK’s House of Commons, has in recent years heard many representations from different people and bodies, including the British in Europe (BiE) campaign coalition, about how Brexit may impact individual lives.

British in Europe believe that Brexit with the negotiated deal would be worse than remaining in the EU but would preserve many rights of Britons abroad, whereas a no-deal would mean far greater uncertainty and vulnerability and loss of rights. There is French legislation in place aimed at protecting essential rights to live and work in France, but it includes clauses linking these to reciprocity – the treatment of the French in the UK.

Opposition MPs will seek to take control of the Commons order paper at 16.00 today French time and if accepted by the Speaker, they will try to pass Mr Benn’s proposed law.

This seeks to require the prime minister to ask the EU for a three-month extension to the Brexit deadline (currently October 31) in the event that by October 19 (one day after the European Council meets in a summit on October 17-18) Parliament has neither voted to agree a deal nor voted to approve leaving without one.

If the European Council agrees to an extension then the bill says the prime minister must immediately accept; however if the council proposes a different date then the prime minister should accept it within two days unless the MPs reject the date.

The founder of Rift, a BiE group for Britons in France, Kalba Meadows, said she gauged a change in the mood of the British public towards leaving with no-deal when she was in London last week.

“I attended  the huge Stop the Coup rally outside Downing Street and afterwards joined in a piece of peaceful civil disobedience by sitting down and blocking the road around Trafalgar Square.

“It's been a long time since a large number of people in the UK - we were over 100,000 at the London event, and up to a million around the country - have felt strongly enough to stand up and act. I was hugely encouraged to see the outrage and the anger rising at last, and I had a sense of things being at a change point.

“And now we have Hilary Benn's bill. I've met Hilary a few times, and he is most definitely on our side. But the change point will only bring change if everyone piles in and does something. It really is now or never.

“You have just a few hours left to email or tweet your MP or ex MP to tell them why no deal would be so bad for your rights and for personally, and why prorogation would almost certainly lead to that outcome.

“Don't think about it too hard,just write a short, passionate email or tweet from the heart. If your MP is a Tory, it's all the more important. If he or she’s a possible Tory rebel, it's vital.

“Yes, we're a citizen's rights group, but prorogation and a no-deal exit on bad terms is the worst possible outcome for those rights so to defend our futures we need, this time, to defend the bigger picture  – democracy.”

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