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UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 2:51 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee 2:51 pm, 14th February 2019

I could not agree more. We need to heed businesses that say that the deal may not be perfect, but it is good enough. It is the jobs that are at stake as the uncertainty continues. But we are straying into economics again, and I want to return to the human cases.

Consider the 91-year-old man in an Italian nursing home. His son, who lives here, has just had a letter from the Italian authorities to say that they will no longer pay for his father’s care from 30 March if there is no deal. Imagine the younger man, worried sick that he cannot afford those nursing home fees and that moving his father could be fatal.

Then consider the young man living and working in France who has HIV. He has just received a letter to say that he will have to pay for his own antiretroviral treatment on 30 March. And listen to the voices of two pensioners living in Spain, who said:

“I will have to return to Britain as without the healthcare paid for, I can’t afford to live here. I wasn’t allowed to vote in the referendum. If we don’t get that healthcare lots of us will have to come home”.

The Government tell them that they are negotiating reciprocal rights. London and Madrid have already signed a deal ensuring voting rights and working rights for respective migrants, but healthcare is not part of this agreement. I wrote to the Health Secretary last week and have not yet had a reply. I stopped him in the Lobby to ask about this issue and he pointed out that the reciprocal healthcare Bill is being debated in the Lords, but will it have passed both Houses by 30 March?