Lib Dems react to Government defeat over #righttostay

Tim Farron and Dick Newby responded quickly to the excellent news that the Lords have done the decent thing and defeats the Government over EU Nationals’ right to stay.

The Government now needs to think again over how it treats the millions of EU citizens living in this country.

Theresa May has been stubbornly determined to use EU citizens in the UK as bargaining chips. Today the Lords have told her this is not acceptable. The Government must now secure the future of the millions who are currently being held in limbo by its drive for a hard Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats will stand up to this government and for the people being left behind by Theresa May’s destructive Brexit plan.

Tim added:

This is an embarrassing defeat for the government. Theresa May is failing the three million EU citizens that live in this country. Her Conservative Brexit Government is leaving our friends, neighbours and colleagues in a state of fear.

The Prime Minister must now listen and accept this amendment. I can guarantee that Liberal Democrats will keep trooping through the lobbies time after time, if needed, to defend EU citizens’ rights.

People must not be used as pawns in Theresa May’s dangerous game. Her position leaves lives, families and futures hanging in the balance.

Our peers took to Twitter to hail the result:

And Olly Grender makes an observation about former colleague Zahida Manzoor:

I still feel utterly ashamed by the fact that we had this vote at all – that the Government didn’t instinctively tell EU nationals they had nothing to worry about and guarantee their future.

The story doesn’t end here, though. Next week the amended bill goes back to the Commons. We need an almighty campaign to persuade MPs to keep that amendment in and defeat the government in the Commons. If you haven’t written to your MP, do so right now even if you know for certain, as I do, that they would support the amendment. Let’s fill those inboxes with reasoned, impassioned pleas on behalf of our European friends and colleagues.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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61 Comments

  • CllR Mark Wright,
    Exactly.

  • Empty rhetoric Mark. Do explain why Spain is less or more likely to let Brits stay if the UK makes a unilateral decision? Even if it were the case that making that particular unilateral decision gave the UK govt one less thing to bargain with – why should euro/anglo families be your bargaining chips?

  • How many Brits living abroad have I heard complaining about Brexit? Many. How many have I heard demanding that Britain refuses to make proposals about the future for Europeans in Britain – none. Even if Spain did send back all the British pensioners, what would you want to do – expell all the Spanish waiters? Its a completely disgusting way to behave that you advocate

  • Yes Mark, you are old fashioned. Or at least expounding a dated concept of the nation state

  • @Cllr Mark Wright

    I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

    What I find most upsetting is over the weekend we heard some pretty nasty comments about disabled people living with mental health conditions from a Tory Government Minister.
    Many disabled people would have been deeply affected by these crass words and the actions of this government, many feeling abandoned and left to the wayside.

    Where is the outrage from people on this forum? where are the calls to arms to tackle the government on this issue? Apart from a select few commentators on this thread https://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dem-lords-aim-to-kill-new-tory-restrictions-on-disability-benefits-53391.html#comment-432691 it has been pretty darn quiet.
    One could be forgiven for feeling that you care more about securing rights for Europeans than you do for standing up for the rights and defence of some very vulnerable UK citizens, why is that?

    I am not saying that Liberal Democrats in Government are not doing anything, because clearly they are, and motions have been tabled by liberal democrats in both houses, but not much is being said by the membership / supporters, certainly not on this site.

    I really do not understand it

  • Sorry typo

    “One could be forgiven for feeling that you ” you should have been some liberal democrats, not you.

  • Mark, you are absolutely right that the UK government has been trying to get an early reciprocal deal on this issue and that it has been unnecessarily blocked by other European countries. But I depart from your view that the UK’s first duty is to UK citizens wherever they are in the world. In my view the UK’s first duty is to the people who live lawfully in the UK, whatever their nationality. And I’m a Leaver.

  • I expect the government to overturn this and reinstate EU nationals as bargaining chips. I do hope I’m wrong.

  • Tony Greaves 1st Mar '17 - 9:26pm

    This was a great victory today for Liberal decency and common sense. Anyone who agrees with Mark Wright’s trolling ridiculous complaint should just watch and listen to Sue Miller’s intervention in the debate. (Sue lives in France).

    93 LD Peers voted for the amendment. An all-time record. Only seven Tories had the guts and decency to rebel and vote for it. Overall it was passed by 358 to 256 – 612 in total in a packed House and the second highest Lords vote in history. What wonderful LD speeches. Can we just hope that this is a big enough defeat for Mrs May & Co to at least look for a compromise to ease the fears and tears of all our 3 million EU residents and friends?

  • Tony Greaves 1st Mar '17 - 9:27pm

    And of course we are fighting for Brits living in the EU – and there is evidence that there are many more of these than the Government says.

  • Matt – Im not happy about the Governments treatment of the disabled either, but this thread is about Europe

  • @Alistair

    I know it is about Europe, I was making the point that the thread about disabled people and the shocking events over the weekend, gets hardly any support.
    It was a major news event on Monday, where were the articles on this site calling to arms? where were the comments from supporters of the party calling upon their MP’s and pledging support?

    Nope, instead, it is comments after comment, article after article about the EU, House of Lords, article 50, Labour is a disgrace, the single market, etc, etc, and forget about everything else going on in the world

  • @ Tony Greaves Well done, Tony.

  • I find myself unusually disagreeing with Mark Wright. Let me put it this way. My son is a UK citizen. My wife is an EU citizen. If it’s about putting UK citizens first, shouldn’t my son and I be sure that our family can stay together? The idea that we can easily separate EU and UK citizens is one that doesn’t survive any real scrutiny, unless you are Norman Tebbit!

  • Im in the same situation as you Tpfkar. Its not just about losing a cheap plumber, I dont know what rules will apply to my family. The Tories could lay out their intentions tomorrow if they so desired.

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Mar '17 - 10:11pm

    Brexit is the UK’s idea, so it’s fine for us to guarantee rights unilaterally. An opinion poll says the country are split down the middle on the issue, with 42% against a unilateral guarantee and 41% in favour, with 17% don’t knows. However I suspect the figure would be a lot higher for supporting rights unilaterally if maybe the cut off point was tougher.

    Anyway, it’s still a disgrace that the government are suggesting deporting EU citizens who are properly settled here. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Mar '17 - 10:15pm

    PS, I disagree with Mark Wright, but his comment isn’t trolling…

  • Al these outraged voices will still support the EU if British people are expelled from European countries. In fact a proportion of them would insist we shouldn’t expect anything else.

  • I have to say I’m shaking my head reading some of these comments – pistols at dawn is how it comes across.

    The Lib Dem’s say that they believe in equality and fairness.

    Surely to goodness there is *no* difference between EU citizens who have made their lives here over many years, paying taxes, getting married, having children – loving, living and contributing and UK citizens who have done the same in Europe.
    This article is giving the impression that some people think The UK citizens in Europe are more important whilst others appear to be saying the reverse?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Mar '17 - 11:33pm

    Can I add some unity , as I like , respect and often agree with Mark, and while I am not sure I do on this, to refer to one of our elected councillors and a very regular and constructive member of our party and contributor on this site, as a one who is trolling, is very hurtful.

    As ever, Eddie Sammon, himself the recent target of the noble Lord who has a go at Mark, is correct.

    A lighter note, and a sung one, you can see the government was desperate, a ghost was spotted, haunting the Lords, not seen since the government conjured it ,to back them, on reducing certain of the tax credits…

    ” …for now I find… the Phantom of The Upper House was there …
    inside their minds…!

    Andrew Loyd Webber was brought in to vote for the government !

  • Spot on Mark Wright.

    Great that the unelected Lords care more about the rights of EU nationals than UK nationals.

  • @Cllr Mark Wright – “the UK has been trying to secure reciprocal rights for many months now, but is blocked by other EU countries”

    That’s utterly incorrect. The only reason that this is an issue is because our government is intent on triggering art 50, thus destroying the reciprocal rights arrangements that have been secure for over 40 years. In other words, we are creating the problem.

    The other member states have been clear that they won’t enter into negotiations prior to Art 50 being triggered. The other member states will not consent to being blackmailed by us on this issue, anymore than we would consent to being blackmailed on any other issue.

  • Perhaps if the political elites had listened to concerns about mass migration a lot sooner we wouldn’t be invoking Article 50. Let’s be honest the Lib Dems don’t really believe in borders and they couldn’t give a toss about the 1.7m British unemployed preferring not to plan migration so that they can keep their kumbaya sentimental politics of open Europe. The reason is simple – Brexit has made them feel so uncomfortable and the changes in the political framework are so beyond their psychological comprehension they can’t deal with it – hence no economic policies as you then have to have a migration policy. The left behind are so uninteresting to them or beyond their own lifestyles they don’t want to create policies. Otherwise why aren’t they in development?

  • Paul,
    How has the EU secured reciprocal rights for 40 years when it’s only 23 years old.? Also the freedom of movement arrangements that brought the highest number of EU workers into Britain is only 14 years old as it did not start until 2003!
    This is the thing that really does get me about the remain camp. Most of the changes that were made did not come into effect until after 1999 and some of the finalising only in the last months of Gordon Browns government, yet we are supposed to see the EU as some sort of long established principle. The point being that you do not have to be that old to remember life before the EU because 1992 it wasn’t in the dim distant past.
    In truth a lot of the EU stuff barely predates the Blair Government and the financial crash of 2008. The EU’s history is very recent.

  • James – do you want a hard border between NI and the Republic or betwen England and Scotland? The people that live near those borders dont want hard borders there.

  • Andy Coleby 2nd Mar '17 - 7:53am

    Great result.
    I see that Mr Tebbitt behaved like a pantomine villain complete with snide remarks about his fellow Tory Mr Heseltine.
    Big problem is the power obsessed and painfully illiberal May.
    I remain optimistic – after all they do say pride comes before a fall !!

  • @Martin

    “You are getting cheers, but from the wrong people.”

    Funny, I was led to believe that over 30% of people who voted / supported Liberal Democrat voted to leave, so how are these the wrong people, or are their views no longer allowed to represented in the party?

    @Eddie
    “Brexit is the UK’s idea, so it’s fine for us to guarantee rights unilaterally”
    I get what your saying, but what would happen in the UK government did this and guaranteed the rights of Europeans on not just retaining the right to remain here, but there are other areas to address, healthcare / pensions/ welfare etc. What if the UK did this unilaterally, then after Brexit, because no agreement was made for UK citizens to be afforded the same rights / protections in EU member states, Spain / France decides, we need to raise some cash, were going to hit all UK expats with an extra 15% on top of their council tax?
    There would be an outrage because the UK Government had failed to protect get and agreement to protect UK citizens living in European countries.

    As much as people dont like it, we need to have reciprocal agreements with the EU on this, or we would be neglecting the expat community

  • Matt – all the what ifs you talk about are not under May’s control. We only ask her to do the right thing for the people living in the country she leads. Rather than threatening to cut off her nose to spite her face all the time.

  • @Alistair

    “all the what ifs you talk about are not under May’s control.”

    What a strange response. it’s not as though these what if’s should be dismissed, especially considering the language coming from France and Germany about the rights of uk Citizens after Brexit.
    Theresa May, the Government and we have a responsibility to get the best deal for ALL the people concerned.
    Not to prioritise Europeans rights first and then end up weakening the negotiating position when it comes to the rights of UK citizens.

    I think deep down you know this, but any chance you get to damage frustrate the brexit process in the hope of derailing it altogether you will take. It’s a risky strategy for remainers and considering the costs at stake, I hope you are ready to accept your share of the responsibility if UK citizens living in the EU are left high and dry without any deal / protections for them… We are leaving, there is no stopping that in my opinion, we should be concentrating on getting the best deal and protections for ALL

  • Matt, it’s a case of ‘lead by example’. Do the right thing because it IS the right thing, not to play games with people’s lives and use them as bargaining chips. If May and co’s attitude to the other EU nations is ‘Let’s play hard and nasty in these negotiations’ is that going to help us?
    Ever heard of ‘cast your bread upon the waters’?

    James, you are right. You are the ONLY person who comments on here who cares about the unemployed. Not.
    Just because we don’t believe kicking out all non-UK-born residents will solve everything doesn’t mean we don’t care.
    If you can tell us, for example, how making East Europeans leave the East Midlands will do anything for unemployment in the (very, very few immigrants) Welsh Valleys???

  • Alan Depauw 2nd Mar '17 - 9:14am

    As a Brit living in the EU I believe that Britain should take a stand on principle to defend the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. It will be up to EU states to decide whether to reciprocate. But that they have that decision to make is due not to anything they have done, but to the British government prioritising immigration control over everything else.

    And another thing: the British government have made not the slightest effort to find out what Brits abroad actually want. So any expression on its part of concern about them is meaningless.

  • Will this have any impact, either way, on our local election vote today? Redcar Newcommon and Hutton wards are interesting. Can we snatch Hutton, got into second place a year ago and Newcommon is a split Lib Dem/Labour ward, where a hold might feel like a gain. We will see.

  • As I understand after the UKs withdrawal it will be up to individual members of the European Union to determine whether they wish UK nationals to remain. Which countries are saying they will not,?
    The Lords acted as a British sovereign tier of government and came to a view which is in the best tradition of our country.To send a message that we are a non racist country who value those people is a benefit going forward so that Companies in this country know they will not be losing key workers who came from other parts of Europe and have established themselves as hard working, contributing families.
    I am at a loss to understand some of the comments on this thread. As a side Lib Dems have consistently supported those in our society that need help, Norman Lamb and Mental Health is an outstanding example

  • What Mark Wright doesn’t mention, of course, is that the ex pats he is talking about were overwhelmingly in support of the action taken by the Lords yesterday.

    Doing the right thing ourselves is more likely to encourage others to do the right thing. What is wrong is to use human beings as pawns in negotiations.

  • @Tony Greaves “And of course we are fighting for Brits living in the EU”
    How?

    This amendment, if it isn’t defeated, effectively removes a bargaining chip that could be used in the above fight. for those that don’t like people being used as bargaining chips, sorry that is real world politics.

    Also remember the fight for “Brits living in the EU” only has value whilst the UK is part of the EU, post-Brexit the fight will be with 27 individual nations… I suspect that if we get to this stage, states such as Spain could come to an agreement if the UK allows them to continue fishing UK waters…

    However, what is most concerning about this amendment is once again we are witnessing Westminster spending time on unimportant issues, rather than tackling the substantive issues that Brexit raises and whether May’s government really are prepared for Article 50 negotiations and are acting in the nation’s best interests.

  • Martin Land 2nd Mar '17 - 10:29am

    I think our message to the government on Brexit must be ‘if you must do this stupid thing, don’t do it in this stupid way.’

  • @ Cllr Mark Wright I listened to the debate yesterday and your views were echoed by predictably by one noble Lord who characterised the amendments as :

    ” looking after the foreigners but not the British”

    It wasn’t well received. The noble Lord was one Norman Tebbit.

    Maybe if you made your points more moderately ?

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Mar '17 - 10:49am

    Tony Greaves: Has the government said when it will enfranchise these British citizens?

  • Cllr Mark Wright,
    I think this is because a proportion of Remain simply are so in the thrall of the EU they think everything it does is fair enough. It’s a my EU right or wrong attitude.

  • Peter Watson 2nd Mar '17 - 12:09pm

    On the plus side, perhaps the party’s enthusiasm for unilateral action can be extended to opposing the renewal of Trident.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 2nd Mar '17 - 12:25pm

    Peter Watson, I had been thinking along similar lines. There are times when when the only morally justifiable position is the unilateralist one, even if it seems a risk, and even if there is no guarantee that others will reciprocate. Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens is one such issue, and opposing Trident is another.

  • Presumably we are anticipating a constructive cooperative relationship with Europe after we leave the EU. Otherwise we may as well repeal the EU communities act now and have done with it. If you see negotiation in terms of an arm wrestle then there will be one winner and one loser. Guaranteeing the right to remain is both the moral position and a statement of intent that the negotiations will look to conclude a deal which beneficial to both sides. I think TM is approaching this whole negotiation with bad grace and it will not achieve the best outcome. If you want to see GDP drop then expel 3 million none UK nationals. We are where we are. It is about going forward.

  • Cllr Mark Wright
    From where we are standing in the UK, the failure of eg Mrs Merkel et al to take up Mrs May’s early offer on UK/EU nationals does look very surly and unhelpful, and I agree with you that the European politicians in question are just as guilty of using people as pawns as Trump is, and I agree with you that it is frustrating that so many people seem to be blind to this point. BUT, and it is a massive but, it is becoming clear (not least from some UK people living in Europe and posting on this site) that this is not at all how things look from the other side of the Channel. The Europeans are so very angry at us for voting out, and creating this issue in the first place, that they cannot even begin to move to a place where dispassionate sensible agreement could happen. They have no interest at all in protecting the rights of UK nationals living in Europe. The received wisdom that the plight of EU citizens living in the UK would persuade them to do a deal is based on a false assumption that they are in a rational place. We need to recognise that, recognise that the UK will never deport previously lawfully resident people, and get on and provide that guarantee. It will indeed provide a crumb of goodwill, as well as ending a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety, and will actually help the UK nationals in Europe later on. I know this is a departure from our previous understanding of the position, but it’s the right way forward.
    As I said earlier, the UK’s first duty is to look after the people lawfully living on these shores.

  • Peter Watson 2nd Mar '17 - 1:41pm

    @Cllr Mark Wright “I am opposed to renewing Trident, which isn’t a unilateral thing”
    I sort of agree. I am opposed to renewing Trident because I believe that there are far better ways to spend the money, but opposition to unilateralism was a common argument for defending Trident in recent discussions on this site.

  • @ Annabel
    “As I said earlier, the UK’s first duty is to look after the people lawfully living on these shores.”

    Kinda difficult to disagree with you here in principal even though I’m not particularly comfortable as it gives the impression that we somehow see our ex pat community as somehow less deserving of our support – Is this because many are relatively affluent, second home owners? (controversial perhaps – don’t know the answer).

    My main challenge back here though is that it appears to me that Lib Dem’s are happy to spin this line when it suits without any real consistency.

    Many weeks ago, I wrote a couple of long comments around “Liberalism starts at home” at a time when the Lib Dem’s seemed more concerned at the plight of European citizens on these pages than the plight of our own citizens here (regardless of Nationality).

    Which brings me back to clarity again. I really do believe that the Lib Dem’s lack an “anchor” and a clear direction for want of better words and that phrases are thus being spun to suit an opportunity rather than from any real conviction?

    I’m not accusing you of this since I don’t know whether this is a consistent stance for you – it may well be, but generally many were arguing for opening their arms to all comers and having a love in with the EU (whatever the consequences) a few weeks ago.
    This week it’s all about protecting the rights of the people who live here.

    I’m confused and don’t really know which way the wind will blow next?

  • Sue Sutherland 2nd Mar '17 - 2:17pm

    Cllr Mark Wright. I think the problems is that the EU holds all the cards so from a negotiating perspective it makes no sense to treat EU citizens living here harshly because that will make our problem worse and would mean that the resentment EU countries feel could be taken out on our own citizens. Much better to indicate that we will treat people humanely and fairly. Unfortunately Theresa May has adopted a hectoring attitude and EU citizens are already being treated harshly so we are already in a downward spiral. I am grateful that the Lords have shown that we aren’t all spiteful people.
    Matt . I’m disabled by M.E. which means physical, emotional and mental disability. I think my party is doing well on combatting the government’s mean and cruel proposals so I haven’t commented on LDV about it. I imagine I’m not alone in this so I hope this helps you not to feel so let down.

  • @Sue Sutherland

    “I imagine I’m not alone in this so I hope this helps you not to feel so let down”

    I appreciate what your saying, I just worry about, do MP’s look to their membership to test the strength of feeling on policy, I am not suggesting that MP’s spend time personally looking at these forums as I am sure they do not have the time, but I am sure their staff must monitor these forums to gauge the temperature on certain subject’s policies. I worry what they would have to report when there has been a lack of comments.
    I also feel that the party missed and is missing an opportunity, this was a huge news event that not only the party should have seized on, but LDV and it’s members, whilst it was getting all the media attention.
    I was also disappointed that the Liberal Democrats seem to be allowing Theresa May to get away with steeling the phrase parity of esteem for mental health, it was my recollection during the coalition years that this was the Liberal Democrats and especially Norman Lamb who was pushing for this, Now the tories seem to have stolen the phrase for their own purposes. This needs challenging, especially since the Tories are not living up to it anyway.

  • @Mark – in EU parliament a proposal was made to allow Brits to have associate citizenship via a fee. In Germany politicians proposed fast tracking Brits who wanted dual passports. So no Im not outraged by European leaders because they didnt make this unholy mess. We made the mess and now May expects everyone to drop everything. Meanwhile various factories are under threat and different industries are making special pleading for Government subsidies post Brexit. But thats ok because we are taking back control. May is demonstrating that she has taken back control by saying her hands are tied unless she can get agreement from the other EU states. It doesnt sound like much control has been taken.

  • Andrew Tampion 2nd Mar '17 - 8:33pm

    Annabel
    “The Europeans are so very angry at us for voting out, and creating this issue in the first place, that they cannot even begin to move to a place where dispassionate sensible agreement could happen.”
    But the EU and it’s member states (which is I take you to mean when you refer to “the Europeans”) have no business and no right to be angry with us. All that has happened is that following a democratic and fairly conducted referendum is decide to leave a voluntary association of nations in full compliance with our treaty obligations. Even if their alleged anger was justified these are adults and democratically elected politicians: not three year olds. There is no reason for them to metaphorically throw a temper tantrum and threaten to take their ball away.
    Speaking as some who is broadly pro the EU and a remain voter I have to ask myself whether I still wish to be part of an organisation whose members are prepared to behave so unreasonably as you claim.
    Also, as others have pointed out, there is a dangerous lack of balance in this debate. If our government has offered to allow EU nationals living the UK residence if the 27 reciprocate and agree our national may remain in their respective countries and the EU 27 say no and refuse to discuss the matter until Article 50 is triggered then clearly the moral responsibility for using peoples lives as bargaining chips is the their and not our governments. The fact that so many of the commentators above are unwilling or unable to accept this is deeply disturbing to me.

  • Andrew Tampion
    You are right on both fronts in terms of logic, but I think as a country we have under-estimated the impact of saying we are leaving. I think on mainland Europe, the very idea is virtually inconceivable. On this issue of residents, their starting point for working something out is the fact that we have upset the apple cart and have created the problem, and the main issue as they understand it, falsely, is free movement. Our starting point is further on – leaving is an accepted fact to us (at least to non-Blairites), so we are starting from the point of view of what’s practical about who can live where. I suppose what I’m saying is that the smoke hasn’t cleared for them yet! A spot of goodwill is needed to get the mists cleared. I agree it does rather reveal things about this organisation that are less than great.
    On the issue of balance/bargaining chips, yes, but since there’s no way we are going to be deporting anyone who is not a criminal, and since UK nationals themselves seem to want us to offer the EU citizens the goodwill gesture, there is nothing to be gained by holding out for even-handedness, so we might as well offer the guarantee.

  • @Annabel

    But the things to be negotiated are not just about for EU citizens to still to be able to remain here, it goes much wider than that, it includes reciprocal healthcare, social care, welfare, pensions, it is all tied up together.
    We simply can not agree unilaterally to allow EU citizens currently residing in the UK to to keep all these things UNLESS we get a reciprocal agreement from the EU member states to allow our citizens to have the same benefits.
    That is just common sense.

    Of course we all hope and I am sure that a deal will be reached with EU member states to allow this to happen, but to try and force the UK government into doing this unilaterally, is in my opinion irresponsible and sabotaging Theresa May’s negotiating position, which deep down is what i think is the intention of the remainers on this issue.

  • Laurence Cox 3rd Mar '17 - 10:28am

    Politicians are usually more candid after they are out of Parliament. John Rentoul here is reporting on what Ed Balls said in his latest seminar at King’s College, London.

    In answers to questions from students, Balls expanded his view, expressed when he ran for the Labour leadership in 2010, that free movement of EU workers was “very hard to sustain if you don’t have a common tax and benefit system – I’ve thought this for a very long time but underestimated how quickly these forces were going to rise up.”

    “We did see how technological change would drive wage inequality, but our answers, minimum wage and tax credits, are really hard to sustain across an economy where you have freedom of movement but different wage levels and tax and benefits systems.”

    The whole article is at

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/ed-balls-tony-blair-never-really-wanted-to-join-the-euro-a7605816.html

    and is well worth reading for its insight on the relationship between Blair and Brown over joining the Euro.

  • Cllr Mark Wright is bang on. A liberal talking sense? Well I suppose it had to happen eventually, a bit like those monkeys knocking out the complete works of Shakespeare.

  • John Barrett 6th Mar '17 - 10:27am

    This debate often ignores the fact that the most popular countries UK citizens choose to live in (Spain, France and Germany) are completely different from the countries where most migrants tend to come to the UK from (Poland, Romania, Portugal).

    I have excluded Ireland, as the numbers are similar in both directions and the likelihood of some separate agreement being agreed with Ireland because of the land border and other issue, must be high.

    If we cannot agree the rights of UK citizens living abroad, and for EU citizens living here, sooner than later, it looks very unlikely that there will be any point negotiating later on, as neither side will be dealing with the same issue. For example – the numbers and impact of Romanian people in the UK cannot be sensibly seen as a similar issue as the number and impact of UK citizens living in Romania.

    Nobody likes the idea of using anyone as a bargaining chip, but most people would support fair treatment for all and maybe that is why this debate has divided many of those who have made comments above.

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