Brexit: European Union-derived Rights - Motion to Resolve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 4th April 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat 7:30 pm, 4th April 2017

My Lords, it is frequently suggested that any noble Lord who starts a speech with, “I shall be brief”, will drone on for many minutes. However, I do propose to be brief in speaking in favour of the Motion proposed by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter. As the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, said earlier, so much has already been said and we should not keep refighting the same battles. I therefore have just one question for the Minister. On more than one occasion during the passage of the EU withdrawal Bill, the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, and I said that the nature of EU negotiations is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is what the European Union has now said. In light of last week’s statement from the EU—not just from people like me—how do Her Majesty’s Government envisage giving certainty to EU nationals who are currently resident in the United Kingdom? The Prime Minister’s frequently stated hope is that the issue can be dealt with early on in the procedure but it is absolutely clear that this is not going to happen if everything has to be agreed at the end. Another two years of uncertainty is clearly wrong.