Lib Dems vows to carry on fighting for EU citizens after Tory MPs block Brexit amendments

EU citizens in Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, lobbying MPs over post-Brexit rights in the UK

EU citizens in Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, lobbying MPs over post-Brexit rights in the UK. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The Lib Dems have vowed to carry on fighting to guarantee EU citizens' rights in laws as Tory MPs blocked their latest proposals.

The latest amendment would have given EU citizens the right to appeal if the Home Office refused them settled status under the Conservative government's scheme.

They also called for the Tory government to remove the arbitrary December 2020 deadline for settled status, and to require the government to provide EU citizens with physical proof of their status rather than just a digital code.

But amendments were either not selected or defeated by Tory MPs who blocked efforts from across the House of Commons to stand up for EU citizens.

There had been warnings that the current arrangements could lead to another Windrush scandal "on an even greater scale".

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Immigration minister Brandon Lewis called for the amendments to be withdrawn arguing that it would "undermine" the process of granting settled status.

He said: "Part of the challenge and the problem with a declaratory scheme is it exactly leads into the problems of Windrush.

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"This scheme means that people have evidence of their rights that means in the future that can not be contestable and we avoid that problem in the first place."

Liberal Democrat MPs also tabled amendments that would:

Following the vote Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine vowed to carry on fighting for EU citizens.

She said: "Boris Johnson has yet again turned his back on people who have contributed to our economy, paid their tax and made a life here for their families.

"What happened to his promise to guarantee EU citizens' rights automatically in law?

"Johnson is leading us towards an even bigger Windrush-style scandal. Thousands of EU citizens will be left effectively undocumented from next year, at risk of detention and deportation.

"EU citizens are our friends and our families, our neighbours and our carers. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for them."

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