EU/British Citizens’ Rights

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 18th June 2019.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 1:24 pm, 18th June 2019

There is a great deal on these issues on which the hon. Gentleman and I agree. I suspect we take the same dim view of the attractiveness of any kind of no-deal exit, but where I disagree is on his narrative about the Government’s urgency. We have always put citizens at the forefront of negotiations, and we reached an agreement with the EU on the detail of a citizens’ rights agreement some time before the House voted on the amendment in February.

The EU has said repeatedly throughout this process that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We have challenged that in taking up the call of my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire for ring-fencing, and we will continue to press the case for ring-fencing, but it is a bit rich for Paul Blomfield to suggest that the Labour party takes this more seriously than my party does when the Opposition Benches are a gaping empty space for this urgent question.

It is vital that we all work together, reflecting the cross-party nature of the amendment to secure these rights. In that respect, I hope the hon. Gentleman will welcome the progress that has been made today and the further progress that we intend to make in the months to come on the issue of voting rights.