Chris Philp – Sunday Politics – Brexit and EU citizens rights

Chris Philp – Sunday Politics – Brexit and EU citizens rights


joining me now Costanza de toma from the
organization the three million just mentioned there which lobbies on behalf
of EU citizens rights you say labour can’t be trusted so who are you
advocating EU citizens should vote for well I think that the key thing to say
is that we we would like you nationals to vote first and foremost we’re not
telling anybody who to vote for but we are talking to to our members to our
fellow you nationals to to be active citizens so to keep councillors
accountable make them accountable to us as they would to any other constituents
so we’re equipping them with questions to ask when they’re being canvassed at
their doorstep

But do you get that this will be a sense a referendum on brexit
these elections

Well of course it will but it’s not about whether you’re for or
against brexit like the 3 million for instance doesn’t doesn’t in itself take
a position on brexit what we’re here to do is safeguard citizens rights so if
if there is a Tory run Council that will provide excellent services information
services outreach and to register all EU nationals then why not support that

What’s the mood music they’re coming back from the members you’ve spoken to

Well there there is a certain level of distrust in in the current government I
have to say but you know equally I think we’ve heard a lot of noise we’ve heard a
lot of reassurances but they’ve been empty reassurances what we need is is
actions and we need actually so at the local level we are talking about local
elections and luckily we have a vote at a local level what what is this distrust
based on in terms of EU citizens rights because the government and no doubt
Chris Philp would say that those rights are going to be guaranteed and even
during the implementation and transition period that now they will have
indefinite leave to remain although other rights may change

Well exactly that’s the devil is in the detail we we won’t be keeping the same rights that we
have now and what the government has proposed is a lesser immigration status
with fewer rights

right I mean she’s just being realistic Costanza saying that there is a level of mistrust in the
government and that’s hardly surprising based on past rhetoric

Well let’s start with the local question because you asked about what local councils are doing now
Westminster City Council that we were just discussing are running an outreach
event tomorrow Monday which EU Nationals are invited to where they can have all
of their rights and the processes explained they’re already doing in
Westminster a Conservative controlled council an enormous programme of outreach
exactly as you just requested so I hope What about the level of trust in citizen’s rights?

What will be recognized look as far as the wider national rights are
concerned at the stage one agreement back on the 8th of December the Prime
Minister and the European Union made it very clear that European citizens here
would have the right to stay obviously and after five years living here would
be able to get settle status and after ten years become full citizens and in
fact any fact those people would also have the right to bring over close
family members so I think that is a generous offer which shows that we
really do want European Union citizens to stay here and continue making the
phenomenal contribution they’ve been making for the last you know 10 20 or 30
years

Does that convince you? It’s black and white in the agreement

It’s not what we have now it’s less than what we have now so the logic is black and
white yet the logic of your argument is that your members are probably more
likely to vote for labour than as many other Londoners

No I wouldn’t say so we haven’t heard reassurances from Labour either there
have been very unfortunate votes on our rights in in the Commons that Labour
haven’t you know they haven’t supported citizens rights and to be honest
remaining in a customs union would make no difference to freedom of movement

and that’s the point labour can’t be trusted on this issue either because they’ve
been very opaque there has been a move in terms of saying that we would be part
of a customs union if Labour was the government but in every other sense you
voted to leave the EU

I think three million good doing a very good job and I
think it’s right to be even-handed and to encourage people to vote I think
that’s the first important thing that Is that an acceptance that Labour aren’t doing anything more for EU citizens than the Tories?

No absolutely not and this is the thing
that most animates me about the whole brexit debate more than one in five of
my voters is an EU citizen and I speak to many many of them every
week knocking on doors they are very very upset traumatized I would say about
the fact they’re being treated as second-class citizens and they feel they
do not have a future in this country

Give me examples of how they’re treated like second-class
citizens what we’ve just talked about Settled status is not the same as the
rights have now

So you’re talking about the transition period and when people arrive after March 2019?

No no no settle stated there are gonna be at this is part of the
confusion there can be at least five different types of Rights you have you
might be waiting to acquire certain status have settle status in the
transition period we now find out contrary to what to Theresa May led us to
believe you will not have the right settle status you will have the right to
indefinitely remain after appeared I mean I barely understand this most of
the people I’m talking to you don’t understand it and they’re being treated
in an absolutely appalling away by this Government and that’s why I think that
people will remember that when they go and vote in May because this isn’t can
you imagine treating any other group any other national group or ethnic group like this?

Chris Philp are you on a sticky wicket in London?

No no It’s seen as a remain city on the basis
of what Costanza has said and listening to Andy Dlaughter this is going to be
extremely difficult in these local elections

No we’re not a sticky wicket now
clearly the Labour Party you know Andy and we saw that letter there from Neil
Coil are attempting to scare monger to win votes at the May election but the
truth is European Union citizens are welcome here we want them to stay there
… let me finish there is a very clear path to acquiring not just
permanent right to stay but full British citizenship which we expect the vast
vast majority of European Union citizens to do they’re welcome to stay here we’re
making it easy to stay here and they’ll continue making a huge contribution and
it’s in black and white is in the agreement on the 8th of December it’s in
the draft withdrawal agreement 117 pages published by the European Commission
last Wednesday

Alright

It is there in black and white

We’re going to have to finish
it there Costanza thank you very much

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