Prime Minister Theresa May has come under even more pressure from MPs to guarantee the rights of European expats in the UK when she pulls the article 50 trigger for Brexit.
As the days countdown to her self-imposed March 31 deadline, MPS and the Lords are ganging up on her almost daily to make a unilateral declaration about EU expats in the UK.
But so far she has refused to budge as EU leaders stonewall her about what will happen to more than a million British expats who have made their homes in Europe when Brexit starts.
She claims the EU is holding British expats to ransom by refusing to make a deal, while politicians this side of the Channel are saying the same about the way she is treating EU expats.
The latest group to come out against her is the cross-party Exiting the EU Committee.
The Parliamentary committee is urging the government to make a unilateral declaration immediately, rather than wait for a negotiated settlement with the EU.
“EU citizens who have come to live and work here have contributed enormously to the economic and cultural life of the UK. They have worked hard, paid their taxes, integrated, raised families and put down roots,” said committee chair Hilary Benn.
“They did not have a vote in the referendum, but the result has left them living under a cloud of uncertainty. They are understandably concerned about their right to remain, and their future rights to access education and healthcare. Equally, Brits who live and work on the continent are worried about their right to work and access healthcare after Brexit.
EU expat database
“EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU are aware of the forthcoming negotiations, but they do not want to be used as bargaining chips. Although the government has said it wants EU citizens to be able to remain, this has not offered sufficient reassurance that the rights and status that they have enjoyed will be guaranteed. It should now do so.”
The committee has published a report recommending the government should safeguard healthcare and pensions for British expats in the EU.
The MPs also wants a database compiled of the estimated 3 million EU expats in the UK to try to work out who should stay in the UK.