Template email/letter for MPs on citizens’ rights, spring 2018 campaign
Please use this template as the basis of your email or letter 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: MP template.
Two important points:
1. Please personalise the template as much as possible, especially the opening paragraphs. It’s important that MPs receive individually written emails and letters rather than many identical, cut-and-paste communications from different constituents. Show that you really care about the issues you’re presenting by taking the time to craft your own email or letter, using the points included here.
2. Make sure that you include your last UK address at the top of the email or letter. 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 generally only respond to those living, or previously living, in their constituency.
Address in host country
I am a British citizen currently living in [ ]. My last address in the UK was in [ ] so I am writing to you as my constituency MP, to raise the issue of the rights of UK citizens living in the EU27 after Brexit. I know that the coalition group ‘British in Europe’ has recently sent you an update and briefing about this; I would like to add my personal support to this and also to ask for your help.
There are 1.2 million British citizens like me living in the EU27 – more than the entire population of Birmingham. In fact we are the biggest single national group whose rights are affected by the citizens’ rights negotiations. And contrary to popular belief, around 80% of us are of working age or younger, and many are families. [Briefly describe own situation if this applies to you]
We have just passed a significant milestone: it’s now over 600 days since the referendum, every one of which has been spent in huge uncertainty about our future rights in spite of the UK government’s oft-stated intention that after Brexit we should be able to continue living our lives ‘as before’. As I’m sure you can imagine, that has been, and continues to be, very hard – for me and for all of us. Many of us have families back in the UK who are also deeply concerned by it.
What’s even harder is to hear it frequently said that citizens’ rights issues are now done and dusted. In December last year it was decided that sufficient progress had been made in Phase 1 of the negotiations to move into Phase 2; this was widely interpreted to mean that citizens’ rights are settled. This is, however, not the case. The draft withdrawal agreement published by the EU at the end of February only served to confirm this, and the report of the Exiting the EU Committee published on 18 March 2018 highlights it too and lists the issues which are still outstanding.
Some issues have indeed been agreed between the UK and the EU – for example, health care and pensions for those of retirement age – and will be covered as long as a final agreement is reached. But a number of issues affecting working people have actually not yet been settled, which for many of us puts at risk our ability to go on to earning our livelihoods, supporting our families, and living our lives ‘as before’.
British in Europe’s email briefing set out these unresolved issues in some detail, but just to summarise briefly, they are:
- Our continuing rights to free movement within the EU27. This is not simply a nicety – it’s a core aspect of living and working within the EU and many of us rely on the full economic rights associated with it: our rights to move within the EU for work, to run businesses or provide services across borders, and to have professional qualifications recognised. All of this has been declared ‘outside the scope’ of Phase 1 but a matter for the ‘future relationship’. This is really worrying as it could take many years to negotiate.
- The indefinite right to return to our host country if we need to move elsewhere for a period longer than 5 years – for example, to study, to care for elderly relatives or to fulfil a work contract.
- The right to be joined by a future spouse or partner, when a relationship begins after Brexit.
- The right to bring family with us if we return to the UK in future.
- That whatever is finally agreed on citizens’ rights is ring-fenced so that if negotiations should fail and we face a no-deal situation, our rights are not lost.
Following the agreement in December 2017, Theresa May wrote this in a Christmas letter to all British citizens in the EU: “While I hope that this agreement will bring you some reassurance, I know that there are a few important issues that have yet to be concluded. We will continue to raise these issues with the EU in the New Year”. So far there seems to be little evidence of this happening and I am becoming increasingly concerned, with around just six months to cover a much wider range of areas, that the outstanding citizens’ rights issues could get buried.
Will you help make sure that the rights of British citizens in the EU are not forgotten?
Those of us living in the EU are not able to visit our British MPs’ surgeries to discuss our issues in person, much as we would like to, but we still rely on you as our elected representatives to act on our behalf. And so I have a very specific request to make today: will you write to David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, and also to the Prime Minister, asking them both to do their utmost to keep our issues on the agenda during Phase 2 and to ensure that we remain a priority both for the British government and for the EU while negotiations continue? It’s unthinkable that our rights could fall away simply because they’ve been lost among so many competing demands.
This is not about politics – it’s about human beings – and it’s vital that both sides in the negotiations live up to their promises that Brexit should not affect our daily lives.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I’d be more than happy to discuss the issues in more detail if you’d find that helpful. I hope you’ll be willing to support me in this and I look forward to hearing from you.
Template email/letter for your friends and family
I am contacting you as my MP about the issue of those Britons most directly impacted by Brexit – the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU. This is not about reversing Brexit but about protecting the rights, futures and livelihoods of ordinary people who have already lived with uncertainty for nearly two years.
My (sister/brother/friend etc) ……………………….. has lived in …………. for ………. years and his/her life will be profoundly affected by the loss of his/her rights if the current Phase 1 accord becomes part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
He/she will no longer be able to live, study or work in any EU27 state except his/her ‘host country’. Under the current EU draft, he/she will not even be able to provide services to anyone established in another member state yet alone provide services outside his/her country. His/her qualifications also may no longer be valid.
This is particularly important to ……. as he/she works as a………… thus his/her livelihood will be destroyed.
Other key rights that he/she will lose are: the right to be joined by a future spouse; the right to return to his/her host country if he/she has to go abroad for more than five years; the right to bring family back to the UK. She/he will also lose her/his current political rights: to vote in local and EU elections and to stand as a candidate.
If there is no deal, the situation will be even worse for …………Unless citizens’ rights are ring-fenced, she/he stands to lose his/her right to residence and Phase 1 agreements on health coverage and social security will no longer be valid.
I ask you to do your utmost to ensure these rights are protected. In particular would you please take this matter up with both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU?