Islington Labour councillors have expressed their disappointment over the Government’s response to their petition, which urged the Prime Minister to immediately guarantee the full rights of local people from other countries in the European Union.
In March, exactly one year before the UK is due to leave the European Union, Islington Labour councillors and community representatives delivered the 1,000-strong petition to the steps of 10 Downing Street. Although the petition was addressed directly to the Prime Minister, the response to it came from an officer in the Home Office’s correspondence team.
Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, says:
“The Prime Minister has missed yet another opportunity to immediately guarantee the rights of our friends, family and neighbours. This letter simply offers more warm words and claims that local people from other countries in the European Union have nothing to worry about, yet we know they remain uncertain about their future.
“The petition that we delivered to the Prime Minister shows the strength of feeling in Islington. Unfortunately, she has shown contempt for our serious concerns by passing the buck and not even responding to the petition herself.”
The letter that was sent in response to Islington Labour’s petition claimed an agreement on EU Citizens’ rights has already been reached, but this is not the case. Other serious questions remain for local people from other countries in the European Union, including what their rights will be in the event of no Brexit deal being reached and how they will apply for ‘settled status’.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, says:
“Islington Labour is on the side of local people, wherever in the world they are from. We are continuing to urge the Prime Minister to do the right thing by immediately guaranteeing their full rights. We will continue to work with the community to provide advice and support to local people.
“People from other countries in the European Union make a huge contribution to our economy, community and public services. The Brexit Bill returns to Parliament this month for further debate, and I sincerely hope the Prime Minister, having considered the support we received for the petition, takes this opportunity to guarantee our friends and families’ full rights.”
The delivery of the petition is part of Islington Labour’s on-going campaign to support local people from other countries in the European Union. Ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union, Islington Labour councillors have repeatedly urged the Tory Government to immediately guarantee the full rights of local people from other countries in the European Union. Shortly after the vote and in response to a rise in reports of hate crime, Islington Labour organised a rally on Highbury Fields to send a clear message that Islington remains united.
The Labour-led Council has organised three joint advice sessions for residents about their residency options after Brexit, and created an advice page on the Council website following a motion backed by Islington Labour councillors.
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