Following Theresa May’s recent speech, we took the opportunity to once again write to her… Continue reading Letter to Theresa May – 21 Nov 18
Take part in #thelastmile lobby by coming to Westminster on 5 November – here’s how …
It’s been over two years since the EU referendum, and as March 2019 draws closer the many months of negotiations might still come to nothing if the EU and the UK don’t reach an agreement on Brexit.
Enough is enough – we need the UK government and the EU to honour the commitments already made to us during the negotiations, no matter what. We are campaigning, alongside our friends the3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, for the UK government and the EU to commit now to ring-fencing and implementing the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50 – no matter what the outcome on Brexit.
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. That’s why we need thousands of you to take part in the e-lobby to make sure that MPs understand not just what’s at stake but the strength of our feelings about it.
If you can come to London on 5 November, you can join in our mass lobby of MPs in the House of Commons by inviting your own MP to meet you there.
How to take part in the Last Mile lobby at Westminster … in four simple steps
Find the MP whose constituency covers the last address you lived in when you were in the UK. Don’t worry if you’re no longer on the electoral register because of the 15 year rule – write to this MP regardless. Or if you have a strong family connection – for example, a parent – living in the UK, use their address.Find your MP here, by entering the postcode or constituency: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/.
Or use this spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/MPSpreadsheet.
Registration helps us find out how many people are taking part and which constituencies have been covered.Registration is simple, and free – you will be offered the chance to make a donation towards the lobby costs, which would be much appreciated but is not compulsory. Please select ‘lobby’ on the link below. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive confirmation and then a further email with more details.Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brexit-the-last-mile-citizens-lobby-tickets-50144376179
We’ve prepared a template for you to use as the basis of your email or letter: BiE lobby invitation to meet MP . While we suggest that you spend a bit of time making it your own, on this occasion it’s very important to make sure that the main points on ring-fencing and the invitation to support and sign the pledge remain unaltered and uncut. This will serve as a briefing for your meeting too.
4. Attend the lobby on the day
Once you’ve registered for the lobby on the Eventbrite link above, you’ll receive details of what to do on the day and where to go to meet your MP in the House of Commons. When you’re there, tell your personal story – how you would be affected if there were no deal, how you would be affected even if there were a Withdrawal Agreement and it wasn’t strengthened, as described in the letter. Then once you’ve met with your MP, ask them to come and meet members of British in Europe and the3million and to sign the pledge.
>>>> NEXT: Go to template: BiE lobby invitation to meet MP
Mass lobby and day of action 5 November 2018 – frequently asked questions
Yes. You don’t need to be able to vote to participate in the lobby. EU citizens can’t vote at all in general elections, but are still represented as constituents by their local MPs. Simply register for the lobby or e-lobby giving the constituency that you last lived in when you were in the UK, or you can use an address with which you have some connection – for example, where a member of your family lives. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away.
My MP is an unsympathetic Conservative. Can I lobby someone else?
No. A mass lobby is a very specific thing, with particular rules, one of which is that everyone lobbies their own MPs. The subject matter of this lobby cuts right across party lines – it’s firmly about citizens’ rights – so it doesn’t matter where your MP sits in the house. In fact the more unsympathetic your MP, the more reason to invite them to take part in the lobby and sign the pledge!
What happens if I attend the lobby but my MP doesn’t turn up?
You can still take part in the other activities in the day of action.
- 10:00 Gather on Parliament Square to to form a human chain to 10 Downing Street
- 11:00 Short rally on Parliament Square before going to Parliament
- 13:00 – 16.00 Main lobby starts in Parliament
- 13.30 – 14.30 Statements by MPs and supporters of our campaign
- 14:30 – 16.00 EU citizens meet their MP – take a photo for social media, sign the pledge
- 16.00 Lobby in Parliament ends
Here’s another idea: you could team up with someone else who’s meeting their MP and go in together. We may be able to do a little ‘match-making’ on the day (watch this space) … but in any case it’s worth asking around during the morning to see if anyone is willing for you to join them. Two heads are better than one!
How will the e-lobby work?
There are full instructions here.
I’m going to London on the 5 November. What will happen? How will I know what to do?
Everyone will meet at Parliament Square at 10am – it’s important to try and be on time as we’re pretty sure you’ll want to take part in the first activity! Then simply follow along with the programme. You’ll receive an email with more details once you’ve registered.
If you’d like to make contact with British in Europe steering committee members, several of us with be there on the day. Look out for our name badges and come and say hello.
Is the mass lobby an anti-Brexit event?
No. It focuses on citizens’ rights, and specifically on ring-fencing. The clock is ticking and it really is the last chance we’ll have to make a big push for this, so please focus your discussions with your MP, or your letter if you’re an e-lobby participant, on asking for their support for the pledge. Every pledge signature counts.
If you’re attending the lobby in person, you need to remember that clothing or banners that carry a political message aren’t allowed into the Houses of Parliament.
Do I have to be a British citizen in the EU or an EU citizen in the UK to take part?
No. We positively welcome anyone who would like to support our campaign to take part in the lobby and either meet with your MP or join in the e-lobby. So for instance it would be great if you invited your friends and family to get involved with you, or if you can’t go to attend in your place. Just ask them to register for the lobby in the usual way.
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.
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.
It’s been over two years since the EU referendum, and as March 2019 draws closer the many months of negotiations might still come to nothing if the EU and the UK don’t reach an agreement on Brexit. Continue reading Take part in the e-lobby
British in Europe has written to Theresa May, following her speech this afternoon from Downing Street. While she stated that the rights of EU citizens in the UK would be protected in the event of no deal, and also gave a mention to Northern Ireland, she made no mention at all of British citizens in the EU – not even an acknowledgement of our existence. In our letter we express to her our feelings about this.
Read the whole letter here: Theresa May letter 21 September
UPDATE: A response dated 15 Oct was received on 24 Oct at our Paris offer. Read it in full here.
July 2017 European Parliament Briefings Paper ‘EU and UK position on citizens’ rights’ CLICK HERE