British in Europe Press Release after Madrid Meeting on April 19
The British in Europe coalition is pleased to have had high level contact with the UK government to discuss the post-Brexit rights of more than one million UK citizens living in the EU. At a meeting in Madrid on Wednesday British in Europe representatives – who come from a dozen UK citizens groups across the EU – informed the government of the difficulties faced by many people as a result of Brexit and urged it to back our call for all current rights to be conserved.
We will continue to exchange information and put forward case studies that illustrate the extremely complex and intertwined nature of the rights we currently enjoy. We were very pleased to have opened what should now become a constant dialogue between the government and the largest coalition of UK citizens groups in the EU.
British in Europe urged the government to abide by the governing principle contained in our Alternative White Paper, which asks all sides in the upcoming negotiations to first agree that “the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should not have retrospective effect on individuals” and that “UK citizens currently resident in the EU and EU citizens currently resident in the UK should be expressly treated as continuing to have the same rights as they had before Brexit”.
British in Europe also called on the government to explicitly promise UK pensioners living in the EU that those pensions will continue to be updated after Brexit. This is a unilateral matter for the UK government and we are hopeful that it will soon publicly state its position on this matter. Hundreds of thousands of UK pensioners have been left to worry about this for too long. We will also be increasing pressure on EU negotiators and governments to change their position so that an agreement on our rights – and those of 3 million EU citizens in the UK – can be ring-fenced and will stand if there is no wider agreement. Refusal to go down this road amounts to using us all as bargaining chips.
With elections now on the horizon, British in Europe is calling for all parties to include the governing principle for Brexit negotiations in their manifestos. This reads: “The UK’s withdrawal from the EU should not have retrospective effect on individuals. UK citizens currently resident in the EU and EU citizens currently resident in the UK should be expressly treated as continuing to have the same rights as they had before Brexit. This is not confined to a right of continued residence but extends to all related rights such as the acquisition of citizenship, the right to continue to work, whether employed or self-employed, or run a business, recognition of qualifications, right to study, right of equal treatment, right to move between and work freely across all EU countries without loss or change of any existing EU rights, the right to healthcare, pensions, social benefits/social assistance etc. In short, the full complex of indivisible EU citizenship rights that they currently have should be guaranteed for these individuals.”
For further information or interview request contact Giles Tremlett: email@example.com
Read more on The Guardian.
For an extensive account of the issues outlined below, please visit the Bindmans website.
A group of ‘concerned British Citizens’ involved in the challenge to the Government’s plans to use the Royal Prerogative to evoke Art 50 have won the right to publish its complete legal defence and an unredacted version of their submissions ahead of a Court hearing in October. The Government had strongly objected to the defence being published arguing that a case management order made in July meant all Court papers had to remain confidential. However, in an Order made last night in response to an urgent application by the group, Mr Justice Cranston ruled that:
… the parties are not prohibited from publishing the Defendant’s or their own Detailed Grounds… against the background of the principle of open justice, it is difficult to see a justification for restricting publication of documents which are generally available under the Rules.
The People’s Challenge group has been crowdfunding to raise money to actively participate in the Article 50 litigation begun in July by Dier Dos Santos and Gina Miller so it can ensure a range of British Citizens’ interests are at the forefront of the Court’s mind. Last week, the group’s legal team made detailed legal submissions to the Court arguing that Article 50 cannot be invoked using prerogative powers and that only an Act of Parliament, preceded by proper parliamentary scrutiny, will be constitutionally sufficient.
John Halford of Bindmans LLP represents the group. He commented today:
The Court’s Order allows a floodlight to be shone on the government’s secret reasons for believing it alone can bring about Brexit without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny. Those who were unsettled by the Government’s insistence on its defence being kept secret, will now be surprised by the contents, including submissions that Brexit has nothing constitutionally to do with the Scottish and Northern Ireland devolved governments, that Parliament ‘clearly understood’ it was surrendering any role it might have in Brexit by passing the EU Referendum Act, that it has no control over making and withdrawal from treaties and that individuals can have fundamental rights conferred by Acts of Parliament stripped away if and when the executive withdraws from the treaties on which they are based. These arguments will be tested in Court next month, but now they can be debated by the public too.
Members of the People’s Challenge group also welcomed the ruling. Robert Pigney commented:
After much secrecy the government have been made to show their legal arguments by the High Court – a big a step for the public to get closer to the truth of the government’s position and intentions.
Tahmid Chowdhury said:
In initially withholding disclosure of their arguments, the Government made a mockery of the transparency needed in a thriving democracy. They clearly now know they had no leg to stand on, and one can only hope the same thing happens in this case that should never have needed to come to court.
Grahame Pigney said:
It is good to see that the court has injected common sense and natural justice into the case. Proof, if any is needed, that that ordinary people working together, well organised and supported are capable of challenging and winning anything.
Chris Formaggia added:
It is hugely pleasing to learn that the court finds for the disclosure to the public of the arguments for and against the use of the archaic Royal Prerogative in a case that is of such enormous public interest.