A great deal of concern has been expressed locally and nationally about status of EU nationals in the UK following the EU referendum and I share those concerns.
It is important that we now work towards securing the best exit deal for our country, but the result of the referendum has raised uncertainty over the future rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK.
EU nationals in the UK should not be used as part of the negotiation process. The Conservative Government should immediately end uncertainty for EU nationals by unilaterally guaranteeing their legal status.
I supported a number of attempts to amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act during its consideration in Parliament. Unfortunately, the Conservative Government successfully blocked any amendments to this legislation.
On the 29th March the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, starting the formal process of leaving the EU. While I still believe the Government could guarantee the rights of EU nationals already in the UK straight away, the Government has stated that securing their status in the UK is one if its "early priorities" for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
This is a very important issue and I hope it can be resolved at the earliest opportunity.