It has been over a year since the Brexit referendum, yet there remains no guarantee that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and British citizens living in EU countries will be adequately protected. This is despite a shared rhetorical commitment from those on both sides of the Brexit negotiations to reach an urgent agreement, and consistent advice from across civil society to ringfence rights from the negotiations.
In March 2017, LCHR published a briefing on the rights of EU nationals in which we argued that “to put those people through the emotional turmoil of an uncertain future as a negotiating strategy, and to potentially cede control of the situation to other governments as a result, is indefensible as a course of action.” In the subsequent months, both the UK government and the EU negotiating team have given a clearer indication of their positions. Yet there remains a sizeable gap between the two stances, and a solution remains to be found as the rights of millions appear to be stuck within the trade-offs of the negotiations.
This briefing paper considers how Labour can fight for a deal that will safeguard the rights of EU and UK nationals, whilst balancing the demands of the referendum with the lessons learnt from the recent general election.