European Union Citizenship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 4:06 pm, 7th March 2018

On the life chances that young people will have as they grow into adults and move through their careers, it is critical that every opportunity they get to broaden their horizons be embraced, and we should do everything possible to avoid anything that removes their ability to broaden their horizons, such as losing their EU citizenship.

I want to quote a couple of paragraphs from Jolyon Maugham QC:

“The idea of European citizenship has its roots in the aftermath of the second world war, when Winston Churchill”— my hon. Friend Liz Saville Roberts quoted him earlier—

“spoke of a ‘common citizenship’
that would unite Europe together ‘in the sharing of its common inheritance’”.

He went on to say:

“European citizenship confers a number of privileges: the right to live in and move freely between member states”,

and all the other things that I mentioned earlier.

“The shared assumption of the European Union and the UK government is that Brexit will mean British citizens will automatically forfeit these rights. But this is being tested in a case brought by a group of UK nationals living in Amsterdam, which I funded with the help of Dutch law firm Bureau Brandeis, which agreed to act for a modest fee.”

He ended by saying, as one who was born in London,

“I am a Londoner, I am British, and I am European. They’re not mutually exclusive”.

The same applies to Scotland. Citizenship of Europe is very important to us. Scotland is not foreign to Europe, and Europe is not foreign to Scotland. We are Europeans.

I am grateful to the Merriam-Webster thesaurus for its definition of “foreigner” as

“a person who is not native to or known to a community.”

EU citizenship has made that an antonym. Those people are our buddies, our chums, our comrades, our confidants, our cronies, our friends, our pals, our mates, our partners and our peers. We are European. We should retain the rights and benefits of European citizenship, and I hope that the Government will ensure that that happens.