European Union Citizenship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:42 pm on 7th March 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Hywel Williams Hywel Williams Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Brexit), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Trade) 4:42 pm, 7th March 2018

Right hon. and hon. Members will forgive me if my comments are fairly brief, given my current condition. I am pleased to say that this has been a high-quality debate, in contrast to the debate out in the country. We have heard positive contributions from about a dozen hon. Members. Perhaps that has something to do with the absence of the usual suspects, particularly on the Conservative Benches, who continually repeat the same tired arguments, to very little positive effect. I am gratified by the emphasis that so many hon. Members have put on the rights of young people, thus looking to the future, not to the past.

It is a somewhat novel idea for this place to talk about the continuation of European Union citizenship after we leave. It is not surprising, therefore, that Members have been tempted to wander away to questions about the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and to the Brexit question in general. I do not think that that has impeded or hampered the debate; it has been a suitable counterpoint.

In her initial response, the Minister for Immigration made her central point that when we leave the European Union, EU citizenship will lapse, but Opposition Members have clearly made the counter-argument that international law suggests the very opposite. I will take the opportunity yet again to draw attention to the report “The Feasibility of Associate EU Citizenship for UK Citizens Post-Brexit”, which argues the case clearly, based on the Vienna convention, specifically article 71(b).

I am glad that this has turned out to be a positive if shortish debate, and I look forward to hearing a positive response from the Government.