UK and Europe

A forum for introducing and discussing UK and European related issues.

12 Comments

  1. Missy

     /  March 2, 2017

    Today at approximately 5pm (about an hour and a half) the House of Lords are expected to vote on the amendment to the Article 50 Bill that will guarantee the rights of EU Citizens.

    There has been a bit on twitter today about this, and many Brits living in the EU have been quite angry that they Lords may make the Government guarantee EU Citizens in the UK and leave them exposed to the EU using them as bargaining chips for other concessions from the UK Government.

    There is currently a petition active on Parliament’s website to replace the House of Lords with an elected upper house, I am not sure when this started, but as these petitions run for a maximum of 6 months, and it closes in May I would suggest it has been going since December / January. The BBC2 documentary and the Brexit Bill has put the Lords in the spotlight (not a place they like to be), and the petition has been shared a bit this week on twitter and Facebook. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures it has to be debated in Parliament. It currently has just under 40,000 signatures, however, if the Lords are seen to frustrate Brexit the petition might get a surge of support.

    • Missy

       /  March 2, 2017

      The vote that was expected at 5pm hasn’t happened yet and debate continues. Some of the Peers have brought into the propaganda from the pro EU media around the EU citizens who say they are leaving now because of their uncertainty – something I find a little disingenuous as their status has not changed. A Kiwi guy I know had his visa extension – and appeal – turned down on administrative grounds (he put in the application too early, and his employer forgot to tick a box they were meant to), and there have been at least 3 cases of non-EU citizens being deported from the UK this year in the media because their British spouse doesn’t earn enough. These people live with more uncertainty about their status than EU citizens have at the moment.

      Most of the early debate was pretty predictable with the Peers taking the perceived moral high ground in saying they will support the amendment, however, one – a hereditary Peer (unusual these days in the HoL as most are the ones who have been given peerages), Viscount Waverley has said the best course of action is to give the Government free reign – thus I believe he will not be backing the amendment.

      Lord Lawson lives in France, (the fact a member of the UK House of Lords lives in France is for another debate – but interesting none the less that he can sit in the HoL without being resident in the UK). He has said that while he would like to see the Government give an unconditional Guarantee to EU citizens in the UK, he will not support the amendment as he does not believe that the UK Government will just throw out the EU citizens. He said the only reason for the amendment is virtue signalling and that it would create fear amongst EU Nationals in the UK.

      Another Lord, Lord Green of Deddington, says that those that have been in the UK for 5 years will be able to stay anyway (that is the residency requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain and applying for citizenship), and that to guarantee EU Nationals rights unilaterally means the rights of Britons in the EU will slip down the list of priorities.

      However, so far I think Lord Tebbit has said it best, he said the first duty of Parliament is to think of the interests of British citizens, and they should be thinking of the rights of Britons living abroad, but today they are thinking of foreigners. Some Lords objected to this comment.

      The Guardian’s Live feed on the debate: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/mar/01/pmqs-lords-article-50-debate-eu-nationals-donald-trumps-state-visit-to-uk-postponed-until-early-october-politics-live

      • Missy

         /  March 2, 2017

        Oh dear, it seems on social media the Europhile snowflakes are going into meltdown over Lord Tebbit suggesting that the UK Parliament should put the interests of British Citizens first.

      • Missy

         /  March 2, 2017

        Snowflakes are probably going to go into meltdown again as Lord Blencathra essentially echoes Lord Tebbit – just not quite as bluntly or ‘Prince Philip like’.

        Lord Blencathra said he originally thought it would be good to make a unilateral declaration thinking the EU would reciprocate, but they did not. He said it is the Government’s duty to look after Britons living in Europe more than EU citizens here.

        Lord Strathclyde is another one to not support the amendment saying it will create more uncertainty for Britons in Europe, and that this amendment is the wrong time on the wrong subject. He said Peers should support EU nationals living in Europe – though I think he probably meant (or said and the Guardian got it wrong) British Nationals living in Europe.

      • Missy

         /  March 2, 2017

        Lord Bridges, a Brexit Minister summed up the Government argument, and finished with asking the Peers to think of the consequences of supporting the amendment and giving a unilateral guarantee to EU citizens without the same for British Citizens.

        • Missy

           /  March 2, 2017

          And they are voting, an hour and a half later than expected.

        • Missy

           /  March 2, 2017

          As expected the Lords have passed an amendment to guarantee the rights of EU citizens by a majority of 102.

          The precise wording of the amendment is:

          Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.

          This gives some breathing space to the Government if they lose in the Commons on this, however, it also gives a date that is earlier than the Government was going to give as the cut off date, this is the date the Act is passed, whereas the Government were planning to guarantee the rights for those in the country as at the date they trigger Article 50.

          The Peers actually may have caused a delay for the EU citizens as the Bill now needs to go back to the Commons for debate, whereas if they had passed it then Theresa May would have most likely triggered Article 50 in just over a week when she meets with EU Leaders, however, it is possible that this will be delayed while the Commons deals with the amendment – which the Government have no intention of approving – thus just extending the uncertainty for EU citizens.

  2. Missy

     /  March 2, 2017

    Jean Claude Juncker, (or as he popularly known in the UK Jean Claude Drunker), has released a white paper that sets out 5 options for the EU post Brexit. I will link to it for those that are interested, but in the meantime the highlights:

    Option 1: Do nothing, carry on as they are

    Option 2: A move back to the Single Market. The EU gives up on trying to solve the big issues and key issues become bilateral instead of EU wide, they will also reduce the regulatory burden by dropping 2 pieces of legislation for every one it passes. This is expected to mean that by 2025 the focus of the EU will essentially be the Single Market. Ironically if Cameron had been offered this as an option prior to the referendum Britain most likely would not have voted Brexit, for many who voted leave it was the frustration of the EU not looking at reforming and coming back to its origins with the single market that pushed them to a leave vote.

    Option 3: Those who want more do more. Essentially a split within the EU between those countries who want greater integration and those who don’t want greater cooperation and integration. This will essentially create a two speed EU – something that has already been proposed by Italy who suggested that the core 6 original members will go for greater integration and the rest will be members outside of this. It sounds almost like a class system really, which is strange for the predominantly socialist EU.

    Option 4: Doing less more efficiently. Essentially narrowing its focus and priority list and doing it more efficiently than currently.

    Option 5: Doing much more together. Essentially greater integration and forming the Federal EUtopia, (spelling mistake deliberate spelling nazis), that some in the EU want.

    Apparently the plans have already met opposition for the Eastern EU states led by Poland and Hungary, as many are against the ideas of greater integration and being under the thumb of Brussels.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/01/revealed-jean-claude-junckers-five-scenarios-future-europe/

    The link to the white paper (if it doesn’t work it is under the article from the Telegraph above).

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3476796-WhitePaper-Layout-en-20.html#document/p1

  3. Thanks Missy, you’re doing well.

    What’s a good time to put these posts up?

    • Missy

       /  March 2, 2017

      Cheers Pete.

      Timing has been good so far. I am not sure if you can set for auto, or if you need to do it manually, but if it is able to be set for auto anytime in after midnight your time works for me, then when I get 10 mins or so in the afternoon at work I can put up anything that has come from the morning for when you guys get up, and I don’t have to save it all for when I get home after work.

      Today was different as I was home sick, so able to put a bit more up earlier, but generally lunch time, or afternoon break will be when I will put up the first lot of stuff.

      And thanks again for this Pete, I like having a place where I can post stuff on what is happening here without spamming Open Forum. 🙂

      • It wasn’t spamming but it’s good to have it in it’s own place.

        I can schedule when I remember so will do it earlier, midnight or just after our time which should cover your UK lunchtime.

        • Missy

           /  March 2, 2017

          Brilliant, thanks Pete. 🙂

          It is good for it to have its own place, and well done Patu for suggesting it. 😀

          If you don’t remember to schedule it, no bother just when you get up, I usually make a few notes of things of interest during the day anyway, and catch up on the train home, so all good. 🙂