Our letter to Labour Party to defend preservation of EU nationals’ rights

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The Rt Hon. Baroness Royall of Blaidson
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW

Dear Baroness Royall of Blaisdon,

We write as members of the UK branch of the Italian Democratic Party and are writing to ask you to firmly defend the preservation of rights of 4.2 millions of European Union citizens residing in the United Kingdom and UK citizens residing in Europe after the exit of the UK from the EU: they both contribute significantly to the British and European economies and culture.

As Shadow Leader of the Labour Party Peers, we are sure of your sympathy. We are part of the same European progressive and democratic family. We share the same ideals and political views. We believe that Brexit is a wound to the European project for a united and cohesive international entity promoting the freedom and peace of the countries and people of the continent. We also believe that the European project is the only solution against rising nationalism and xenophobia, ensuring fairness and growth to the countries involved.

We Italian Democrats residing in the UK are ready to defend our rights. We will campaign with our European and British friends and are hereby reaching out to you.

The decision of the UK to leave the EU has saddened us deeply, but we respect it. However, acceptance of the result of the referendum does not imply abdicating the construction of the new alliance with Europe to the Conservative Government. You cannot just trust the Government to “do the right thing”, which, in our view, would amount to the dereliction of your duty of representation. Nor should the Government be allowed to make the rights acquired by the EU citizens subject to negotiations between the UK and the European Union. At present, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill does not enshrine any guarantee of such rights. Neglecting to provide even the most basic certainty on the future of European citizens, in UK and in Europe, is an assault to the rights of free citizens of Europe, which is a status that at the present moments also British citizens share. We strongly believe this principle ought to be included in the bill, as proposed by the amendment brought by Harriet Harman in the other place. Omitting to do so will jeopardize the future of millions of European citizens: it is our duty, as European progressives, to make any possible effort to prevent it.

We trust that Europe and the UK will develop a shared peaceful future, but for now the uncertainty and the potential negative consequences cause great concern. We are all in this together. We are all responsible. Let us choose active opposition against despondency, respect over offence and freedom over segregation.

Yours sincerely,

Roberto Stasi and members of the UK branch of the Italian Democratic Party