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 completely agree with the hon. Gentleman. I worked in Brussels for a time, as well as in other EU countries, and I can see the benefits for young people from all backgrounds.

This is about identity. It is about what we call ourselves in terms of our identity and citizenship. I call myself Welsh and European, and I will continue to do so in equal measure even after Brexit.

I urge the Government to look at the practical benefits of European citizenship, and to support demands to allow British people to continue to benefit from it. As I said, I lived, studied and worked in France, Spain and Belgium when I was younger. It is a shame to think that my two daughters will not be able to have those same experiences and opportunities because the UK Government did not think EU citizenship was worth fighting for. Brexit will do nothing more than isolate us as a nation and cut off those benefits and opportunities for our younger people.

To be Welsh and European is to be open and inclusive. The Welsh writer Gwyn Thomas expressed that beautifully when he said that south Wales society is

“the most marvellously interpenetrating thing” where

“everyone was sensitive and thin skinned to the problems of others”.

He described it as a

“warm soup of comradeship, love, singing, understanding”.

That is how we should consider citizenship of the whole European Union, and I urge this Government to have the courage to safeguard our citizenship as we exit the EU.