Today (29th March), Islington Labour delivered a petition to the Prime Minister in Downing Street, urging the Tory Government to guarantee the full rights now of local people from other countries in the European Union.
Islington Labour councillors and community representatives delivered the petition, signed by almost 1,000 local people, to Downing Street exactly one year before the UK leaves the European Union.
Ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union, Islington Labour has been calling on the Tory Government to immediately guarantee the right of local people from other EU countries to remain, live and work in the UK. Despite warm words, the Tory Government has still not made this guarantee.
Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, says: “Islington is home to people from across the world, including around 30,000 people from other countries in the European Union. It is an outrage that, with just one year to go before the UK leaves the European Union, the Tory Government is still treating our friends, family and neighbours as bargaining chips in their disastrous Brexit negotiations.
“It is unacceptable that, nearly two years since the UK voted to leave the European Union, the Tory Government has still not resolved this simple issue. That is why we will continue to urge the Prime Minister to do the decent thing and give peace of mind to local people in Islington.”
Islington Labour’s petition calls on the Tory Government to:
- Immediately guarantee the full rights of all EU Citizens currently living in Islington
- Stop using our friends, family and neighbours as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations
- Guarantee that EU Citizens’ rights will not be affected in the event of no Brexit deal being agreed
Earlier this month, the Government and the European Commission published a draft agreement on the Brexit transition period. However, the draft agreement offers no reassurance to EU Citizens currently in the UK and does not meet any of the demands in Islington Labour’s petition.
If a final deal is not reached before the UK leaves the European Union, there is no guarantee that any agreements reached on EU Citizens’ rights so far will be upheld.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, says: “Local people from other countries in the European Union make an outstanding contribution to our community, local economy and public services. There is no reason why the Tory Government cannot immediately guarantee their basic right to continue to live and work in the UK and give them certainty about their future.
“Islington Labour is on the side of residents, wherever in the world they are from. We will continue to stand up for and support our friends, family and neighbours from other countries in the European Union.”
Labour-led Islington Council has organised three joint sessions with legal experts and Islington in Europe to provide advice to local people from other EU countries about their residency options after Brexit.
At a Full Council meeting in December, Islington Labour councillors voted to continue to put pressure on the Tory Government and create an advice page on the Council website for local people from other countries in the European Union. This was the third motion on EU Citizens' rights that Islington Labour councillors have voted in support of.
Pictured: (l-r) Maurizio Rodorigo, Italian Trade Union; Ana González, Wilson Solicitors LLP; Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz; Cllr Richard Watts; Kristina Kazmi, Islington IN Europe, on the steps of Downing Street