European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - Second Reading (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:16 pm on 21st February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee 3:16 pm, 21st February 2017

My Lords, I have tabled an amendment on Euratom. Contrary to what the Leader of the House said yesterday in her opening speech, there is no mandate to leave Euratom. It is not part of the EU and it seems that, as a country, we are in danger of cutting off our nose to spite our face for no reason in terms of an electoral mandate.

Today, I want to speak primarily about my great-grandfather, Samuel Miller. He was a master sergeant in the Middlesex Regiment in the late 19th century. I think that he served in South Africa but in the late 1870s he was posted to Dublin. There, he fulfilled his military duties and one year later, in 1880, my grandmother, Edith Blanche—later Leddra—was born. Because of that accident, I was able to take on Irish citizenship and indeed did so in 1996. I am a dual national. Therefore, after Brexit takes place, I will be able to have all the privileges of a European citizen, but that will not be the case for the 16 million people who voted to remain part of the European Union. Not just those with relatives who were born in other EU nations but those born in Ireland will also be able to decide whether to continue to have those privileges as European citizens in the UK beyond Brexit.

Perhaps I may remind your Lordships of some of those privileges. They include non-discrimination alongside other European nationals, the ability to move and reside without hindrance in European Union countries, the ability to work within the European Union, to establish a business, to export and to trade without red tape, the ability to have diplomatic representation, the ability to use our qualifications throughout Europe, and of course the right to healthcare and a European health insurance card when travelling in the EU.

I looked through the White Paper with a great deal of interest. As other noble Lords have said, it is not very long. Strangely, although there were a number of comments about reinforcing UK citizens’ rights in the rest of Europe, it said absolutely nothing about the 16 million of us who will be denied those privileges and rights through the vote of the 17 million. On that, there is a complete void. It is because of that that I feel that those 16 million who along with me voted to remain—I am not going back in history; this is just how it was—have been abandoned by this Government. It is not mentioned in the White Paper. There is no plan for us to retain those rights.

I have spoken with the European Parliament. It is my intention with other parliamentarians who have a similar concern not to negotiate with our own Government—I have no questions for the Minister today, because the Government cannot give what I am asking, nor do they have the power to do so—but to take a delegation of other parliamentarians to meet the rapporteur of the European Parliament and to ask it to protect those rights of our citizens either through membership or associate membership, and to try to achieve that where our own Government have clearly failed and have no interest.