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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Ludford Baroness Ludford Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 5:30 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for continuing to champion this important cause, which is dear to the hearts of these Benches. There are several invidious features of this matter. First, it creates a division among United Kingdom citizens. Not only do people in Northern Ireland have the right to acquire Irish citizenship and thus EU citizenship, but many other British citizens have the right to, or are already pursuing, dual citizenship in order to get the passport of another country. I believe that I have the right to an Irish passport because my mother and my grandmother were born in Dublin. That creates two sets of British citizens: those with the additional political expression and practical advantages of EU citizenship and those who are unable to continue to enjoy them.

Another feature of this matter is hypocrisy. Do the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, and the Minister agree that the following is deeply hypocritical of the leading voices in Legatum? It is reported that the co-founder, who is of New Zealand extraction, and the chief executive have managed to acquire Maltese passports. How they have done so, I have no idea. That will give them EU citizenship, including the right of free movement. As advocates of the hardest of hard Brexits, they have had the ear, we believe, of many leading members of the Government. They have been pushing hard for Brexit so as to deprive the rest of us of EU citizenship, but they have made sure that they are feathering their own nest by obtaining citizenship of another EU member state and thus EU citizenship and free movement.