European Union Citizenship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Labour, Cardiff North 4:26 pm, 7th March 2018

I thank my colleagues in Plaid Cymru for initiating this welcome debate.

European citizenship confers numerous privileges: the right to live in and move freely between member states, the right to diplomatic and consular assistance from other member states, and the right to participate in elections to the European Parliament. It is a principle of UK citizenship law that individuals cannot be stripped of their citizenship because of territorial changes. The UK Government must clarify whether that principle should apply to the protection of European citizenship.

It is shameful that, although the Tory manifesto on which the previous UK Government were elected promised to—at last—allow British citizens who had lived abroad for more than 15 years to vote, those people were then denied a chance to vote in the referendum. The voices of about 1 million people went unheard. It is also shameful that the UK Government have not yet delivered on the promise that the EU’s freedom of movement rights will be honoured for all citizens who reside in other nations in the European economic area. For many UK citizens who did not have the chance to vote in the referendum, and for many who voted to remain because they did not wish their European citizenship rights to be taken away from them, this Brexit—whatever it is—is nothing like the epitome of democracy that some hard Tory Brexiteers would have us think.