Monday 16 September 2019

Boris Johnson told to 'stop faffing around', to pass law to guarantee rights of EU citizens in UK post-Brexit

Boris Johnson called on the BBC to ‘cough up’ and fund the axed entitlement (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)
Boris Johnson called on the BBC to ‘cough up’ and fund the axed entitlement (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

David Hughes

Boris Johnson and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel have been told to "stop faffing around" and pass a law to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in the UK after Brexit.

Tory MP Alberto Costa, who has fought a lengthy campaign on the issue, said the settled status scheme is "fundamentally flawed" because it is not underpinned by an act of Parliament.

He said the Vote Leave campaign "now runs the UK Government" and it had promised during the 2016 referendum battle to safeguard the rights of citizens.

Both Mr Johnson and Ms Patel played a prominent role with Vote Leave and the campaign's mastermind Dominic Cummings is now the Prime Minister's senior aide in Downing Street.

Mr Costa told BBC Radio 4's Today: "The problem with the settled status scheme isn't just that there are technical issues with it, procedural issues; it is fundamentally flawed because there has been no act of Parliament to enshrine in law these rights.

"So the Vote Leave campaign which now runs the UK Government pledged that there would be no change to the rights of British citizens in the EU, to EU nationals here in the UK, that rights would be granted automatically as we exit from the EU and that there would be no change to those rights.

"None of those things have come to pass."

He called for an Immigration Bill because if there is a no-deal Brexit and therefore no legal guarantee in a Withdrawal Agreement, then the settlement scheme "isn't worth the paper it's written on".

He added: "My message, once again, to Boris and Priti is 'stop faffing around, honour your pledge, get that Bill through the House of Commons so we can leave the European Union in a smooth and orderly manner'."

The settlement scheme allows European Union, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens and their relatives to obtain the status they need to remain in the UK after October 31.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "By the end of June, not a single person had been refused the status for which they applied.

"Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered, and declining, the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.

"More than one million people have been granted status through the EU Settlement Scheme so far and two-thirds of those have been granted settled status, which is in line with our expectations."

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