|Editorial Commentary: Who would take the blame if UK citizens not given same treatment|
‘The Government should now make a unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK’, the cross-party Exiting the European Union Committee has unanimously agreed in its report. The MPs are also calling on the Government to seek to ensure that UK nationals already resident in other EU countries – and EU citizens already living here – do not lose their rights to healthcare & pensions after Brexit.
Hilary Benn MP, Exiting the EU Committee Chair, said: …. “Although the Government has said it wants EU citizens to be able to remain, this has not offered sufficient reassurance that the rights and status that they have enjoyed will be guaranteed. It should now do so." (No mention of failure of EU to offer reassurance to UK citizens one notes!).
Just supposing the government is ‘forced’ to agree an amendment unilaterally agreeing to give EU citizens those rights. Who would get the blame if the 27 other EU countries eventually only offered say a ‘right of residence’, without any agreement on pensions health benefits, etc. to UK citizens living abroad, unless we gave them an overly generous ‘divorce settlement’ and/or a preferential agreement on future migration without any other ‘quid pro quo?
After all it won’t be the fault of the UK government if their negotiating ‘hand’ is ‘fatally weakened’ by parliamentary votes, because they have already warned about the danger of such votes!
As the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, who voted against the amendment (on the Rights of EU citizens in the UK) put it (quoted in the Church times): He did not believe that the Lords could “handcuff the negotiating hand of the Prime Minister when she triggers Article 50, by predetermining the outcome of one area of the negotiation before we start”.
Will LibDem Peers resign in those circumstances (they cannot be un-elected) to show their remorse or is it their ‘game plan’ (and that of other ‘Remoaners’) to just say ‘the solution is for us not to leave the EU’ and thus frustrate the majority democratic ‘will’ of UK voters?
The HoL could be seen at their best during the 8 March debate on the Higher Education & Research Bill debate, which sought to improve the proposed legislation.However, the recent ‘Article 50 Brexit Bill’, saw many of them ‘crossing the line’ from ‘proposing amendments to improve’ to ‘amending to decide policy’, which had already been approved by a large majority of elected MPs to implement the ‘will of the people’.