Please use this template as the basis of your email to your MP. You can either copy and paste from here in order to personalise and send it, or if it’s easier you can download it as a Word document here: BiE e-lobby letter to MPs.
Make sure that you include your last UK address at the top of the email. It doesn’t matter if you’re no longer on the electoral register (and there’s no need to mention this if it’s the case!) but MPs’ protocol means that they will only respond to those living, or previously living, in their constituency. Alternatively, use the address of a close relative, find the MP who represents this constituency, and put this address on your email.
Address in host country
Dear MP [insert name],
I am one of the 1.2 million British citizens who live in one of the other 27 European Union Member States. I moved to [country] [with my family] as a British citizen and as an EU citizen, and I have been exercising my EU treaty rights to build a life here for [ ] years.
We are weeks away from the end of the negotiations on the UK leaving the EU and there is no clarity in sight on whether there will be a Withdrawal Agreement. After two years of negotiations and repeated statements that citizens’ rights are a priority, I and my family remain in the same limbo we have been in now for over 800 days, as do all 5 million British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.
It is inconceivable for millions of us to have to wait, not knowing for sure whether our legal status will be backed by a Withdrawal Agreement or not. I am writing today to ask for your urgent support in two areas.
1. Ring fencing
As negotiations enter the final straight, we now face the very frightening prospect of ending up with no deal at all. If this happens all of my existing EU rights could fall away at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019 and I could potentially become an illegal resident of my host state at that moment. This would be an unprecedented development in EU history. There is no existing law – either at EU or at national immigration law level – that is set up to deal with this scenario, so I could fall overnight into another kind of limbo: a legal limbo.
The UK government and the EU must do the right thing now by committing to honour the political promises made to us at the start of the negotiations, no matter what.
I ask you to use your voice as an MP to support a simple, obvious solution – that the EU and the UK jointly agree to honour under Article 50, as a minimum, the rights contained in the citizens’ rights chapter of the draft Withdrawal Agreement – even if it is the only aspect to be agreed and whatever the outcome of the negotiations.
I am asking you today to show your support by signing the #thelastmile campaign pledge at http://lastmile.the3million.org.uk/ to guarantee citizens’ rights:
“I support honouring under Article 50, as a minimum, the agreement already reached on citizens’ rights – whatever the outcome on Brexit”.
I would also like to invite you to meet with representatives of British in Europe in Parliament on 5 November, 1pm-4pm in Committee Rooms 10 and 12. Together with the3million and Unison they are hosting an event where MPs can meet constituents, find out more about the joint campaign to ring fence our rights, show support for firm guarantees on citizens’ rights in Brussels and Westminster and sign the ring fencing pledge.
Why unilateral agreements are not enough
Without an agreement between the UK and the EU, 5 million people will find ourselves in a very precarious situation and dependent on national solutions in 28 different countries.
Even if the UK and each of the EU27 countries were to legislate separately and unilaterally to allow EU and British citizens to remain if there were no deal, this is not enough and is not the solution. Such legislation would not be backed by an international treaty and would be vulnerable to change in the future, plus it would not cover those rights that we have thanks to reciprocal arrangements between the UK and the EU (for example, existing agreements on social security and aggregation of pensions will no longer apply, nor would access to healthcare that depends on coordination and payments between the NHS and health services in the EU; recognition of qualifications, without which many will not be able to work and which depends on cooperation between the relevant issuing bodies, could be in jeopardy).
And if negotiations fail and there is no agreement, 5 million citizens may see their rights undermined in a tit-for-tat as the climate between the EU and the UK deteriorates.
2. Strengthening the draft Withdrawal Agreement
At the start of the Brexit negotiations both Michel Barnier and Theresa May said that the well-being of the British in Europe and the 3 million EU nationals in the UK was a key negotiating objective for them. Both said that they wanted us to be able to continue living our lives as if Brexit had never happened. Eighteen months later, that objective has not been met. Despite assertions to the contrary that it has, citizens’ rights are not “a done deal.” Yes, we have a draft Withdrawal Agreement but it is not legally binding and anyway strips me of several key rights. [Please complete as appropriate for your situation]
I will lose the rights to
- free movement and visa free travel across the EU27;
- recognition of professional qualifications;
- supply cross-border services as an independent service provider;
- vote and stand in local and EU elections rights in my host country;
- return to the UK with my non-British partner without being subject to income thresholds;
My children will lose the right to
- study in another EU 27 country outside their host state;
- return to their host state after an extended period of work or study elsewhere.
I am also asking you, therefore, to make your voice heard in support of strengthening the existing Withdrawal Agreement so that I can genuinely continue living my life as I do now as has been promised. It is unthinkable that there should be any loss of existing rights for those who have exercised their legal rights to free movement.
Many thanks for reading this and I hope I can count on your support.