Yesterday I voted to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and to ensure Parliament gets a meaningful vote on any final deal. It is utterly shameful that the Government chose to block both moves.
In blocking both Labour amendments, the Government sent a very clear signal about their scurrilous negotiating tactics which will deny the rights of people who came here to make our country their home in good faith and their plan to water-down Parliamentary accountability.
I and many of my colleagues have urged the Prime Minister repeatedly to urgently make clear that any EU nationals who came here and were perfectly entitled to do so should have their status guaranteed.
Using people as bargaining chips is a despicable example of the desperation of the Government. It is frankly shameful that Ministers have not moved to guarantee the rights of EU citizens here or UK citizens abroad and it reveals their darker instincts.
Despite the defeat last night, Labour will continue to press them do so urgently.
ln Sheffield we are lucky to have some of the brightest and the best come from all over the world to contribute to our city. They are doctors who care for us and those attracted by the world class reputation of our universities. Alongside colleagues from this country, those at our universities are contributing to research and development which is putting our city and the UK at the cutting edge of the next industrial revolution and helping create the jobs of the future.
We benefit from that because we are an open, tolerant, welcoming city and we work together.
People in this tolerant, welcoming city will see right through the divisive rhetoric in the public debate and the Labour Party will stand up to the division which this Government is looking to sow.
Labour's amendment to guarantee Parliament a say was also rejected by the Government, indicating that they believe it is possible they will return with a deal not acceptable to Parliament. Talk from Senior Ministers about the possibility of crashing out of the EU leaving us on WTO trade rules, which would slap hefty tariffs on our most important industries, inflame these suggestions.
No deal is not an option and Parliament should have a say.
The British people did not vote for the Prime Minister to negotiate away our working rights, environmental standards, tax avoidance measures and our close trading relations with the EU which helps business.
These are the Prime Ministers negotiations and if she botches them it is her failure alone. We will fight tooth and nail over the coming months to make clear to the Prime Minister that she does not have public support to negotiate away our rights, protections and close trading relationship with the EU.
- Protections for existing workers’ rights, human rights and environmental standards.
- Tarriff-free, impediment-free trading relationship with the EU.
- Retention of all existing tax avoidance measures.
- Guarantee of legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK.
- A strong relationship and close collaboration with the EU in science, research and security protecting our city of Sheffield.
She has to know in the negotiations to come that she does not have public support for a divisive, right-wing Brexit.