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Why we must stand up for EU citizens’ right to stay in the UK #notacard

October 7, 2016 12:23 PM

We are not cards

Dr Liam Fox - our members have a message for you: Agree with us that EU citizens in the UK are not cards and that the Government should guaranteee their #RightToStay? Sign this petition today: libdems.org.uk/right-to-stay

Posted by Liberal Democrats on Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I've only done a couple of posts in the past week or so, making reference to "events" keeping me away from LDV. When I came back from Witney, I found my husband very seriously ill. An ambulance dash and some very scary moments later, my worst fears were confirmed and then some.

Things have now settled down considerably. We've had a couple of boring days without medical drama now and we'd like things to stay that way. He will be in hospital for a wee while yet, though, so please bear with me if it takes me some time to respond to things. The rest of the team have been fantastic - so many thanks to them for stepping in while I've been preoccupied.

The reason for telling you all of this is to help you to understand how utterly furious I was to see that Liam Fox had actually said this out loud when asked about the rights of EU citizens following Brexit:

To give that away before we get into a negotiation would be to hand over one of our main cards in that negotiation and doesn't necessarily make sense at this point.

You just can't go changing the goalposts when people have made their home, maybe fallen in love, settled, had children, built lives and support networks. That is so wrong. It is simply not fair to put EU citizens in a situation where they won't know what's happening to them until the Brexit deal is stitched up behind closed doors.

The team caring brilliantly for my husband includes people who have moved here from other parts of the EU. I don't want to think of any of them being used as a negotiating card. They are working hard, in very difficult, under-resourced circumstances, giving outstanding and compassionate care to people at their most vulnerable.

My neighbours come from Poland. They've settled here, they pay taxes here, they've bought a house here, they've established themselves in the community. Their daughter was born here. Why should they face the stress of not knowing what their status will be? It is no way to treat people.

Other friends, a UK and Belgian citizen, have just got married. They should not have to worry about whether one of them will be able to legally live here in two years' time.

We will all know somebody in this situation. That makes it personal and we must act.

One bit of campaigning I was able to take part in was this video. I recorded my bit sitting on my sofa in my pyjamas at about 11pm on Tuesday. How many of the others can you recognise?

If you wouldn't like your life to be disrupted in this way, don't inflict it on somebody else. This is one of these occasions when good people must do something. Signing the petition is just the start. We really need to stand up and be counted and fight for the rights of our EU friends, neighbours and colleagues who are paying taxes and contributing to our society. If we allow the government to treat one group of people badly, then we might find that we are next. We need to turn public opinion against the Government's cavalier attitude to these people's lives.

This is an argument we absolutely must win. It is not what I think of as British to muck people about in the way that Liam Fox suggests. I am thoroughly ashamed of a government that can even think of behaving like this.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings