I wish to support Dr George Rae’s comments urging the Government to grant permanent residence to all EU medical professionals and NHS staff working in the UK, (Northumberland Gazette, April 6).
I go further and press the Government to grant such residence to all EU nationals and their dependants living and working in the UK. Such workers are crucial to many trades, industries and universities.
This is not only a question of British self-interest, it is also a matter of national integrity, principle and an essential part of ‘our values’.
At the time these workers came to the UK they did so legally as citizens of the EU, and many UK nationals moved to work or retire to other EU countries. To renege on that agreement is contrary to the values to which I thought we aspired.
Brexit is proving to be an exercise in cutting off our nose to spite our face. The Government has refused to confirm legal residents the right to remain, endangering our businesses and public services.
It seems happy to lose valuable European markets and seek to do business with undemocratic regimes, all in the name of a “Global Britain”. Not only is this risking jobs and the wealth of the nation, I believe it is also impoverishing the UK’s name and status in the world.
I resent that my EU citizenship is to be lost. The EU is as much a part of my identity as Northumberland and the UK. That citizenship is not being taken away by the EU, but by a Government which claims to be expressing our shared values. The values currently demonstrated are not my values.
It is with relief that I hear that Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Brexit negotiator, wishes to be “open” to a plan to enable British people who want to do so to retain EU citizenship. I want to be one of those people. As a demonstration of that desire, I will wear my EU flag lapel badge with pride and anticipation.
Citizens of Gibraltar voted almost unanimously to both remain ‘British’ and in the EU. It is possible, indeed desirable, to hold such dual nationality.