Southwark’s political parties have come together to demand that the Government guarantees the rights of EU residents living in Southwark.
Since the referendum vote to leave the European Union on 23 June, the lack of any Government response on the future rights of EU citizens already living in the country has created huge uncertainty.
There has also been a rise in the number of hate crimes and incidents of racial abuse being reported against EU citizens with a 52% increase reported in London by the Police.
In an effort to reassure residents, Liberal Democrat councillors tabled an urgent motion at the last council meeting calling on the Cabinet to lobby the Government and the borough’s MPs to secure the right to remain for EU citizens living in the borough.
Liberal Democrat councillors also seconded a motion on hate crime that called on the Council to work with the police and local organisations to tackle all reported incidents of racism and xenophobia in Southwark, as well as support victims of hate crimes.
Nationally, the Liberal Democrats are calling for existing EU citizens to be given the right-to-remain with London MP Tom Brake introducing a Bill in Parliament earlier this month urging the Government to commit to this policy. The Party has also launched an online petition on EU citizen rights: http://change.libdems.org.uk/right-to-stay
Southwark Liberal Democrat councillor James Barber, who tabled the motion agreed by all councillors, said:
“There are 22,000 registered EU voters in Southwark and the EU referendum result has made many people nervous about their future here.
“The Council has a clear role as a community leader. It is only right that we fight the corner of all our residents, so I’m pleased the Liberal Democrat motion received unanimous support from all councillors and parties.
“This contrasts with the complete lack of action at a national level. Conservative Party ministers are instead using the right to remain as a bargaining chip in its Brexit negotiations with the EU. This is playing with millions of people’s lives and is unacceptable.
“The borough’s three MPs must do everything in their power to ensure the Government guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in Southwark.”