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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench 5:45 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I agree with the noble Baroness, as I think it is extremely sad. I think the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, speaks for a huge proportion of the younger people of our country who resent seeing their rights as EU citizens, particularly the right of movement, being taken away from them.

My objection to the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, is even more objective than the objection of the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham. We are asking the Government to do something impossible. It is not possible to be a citizen of the European Union if you are not a citizen of a member state of the European Union. That is how citizenship is defined in the treaty. It is left entirely to member states to decide who their citizens are, but if you are a citizen of a member state, you are a citizen of the European Union. When—I hope if—the UK leaves the European Union, every British citizen ceases to be a citizen of the European Union, and there is nothing that we can do about it. Although my heart is with the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, my head says that this amendment does not make sense. The only way that the young people of this country can retain the rights they now enjoy as EU citizens is for us to decide not to leave the European Union.