Our new Party Leader Jo Swinson used her first question to Prime Minister Boris Johnson so urging him to support the Liberal Democrats Bill on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. The Party are also supporting the rights of UK citizens who are living in the EU and our recent survey has highlighted a number of issues.
Jo said "The 3 million EU citizens are our family, our friends, our neighbours, our carers, yet for three years they have been made to feel unwelcome in our country. They deserve better than warm words and more months of anxiety. They deserve certainty, now. The Prime Minister has made assurances, so will he back the Bill of my Lib Dem colleague Lord Oates, which would guarantee in law the rights of EU citizens? Or is he all talk and no trousers?"
Johnson's blustering response was "I congratulate the Hon. Lady on her own election and join her in insisting on the vital importance of guaranteeing the rights and protections of the 3.2 million who have lived and worked among us for so long. Of course, we are insisting that their rights are guaranteed in law. I am pleased to say that under our settlement scheme some 1 million have already signed up to enshrine their rights."
As a party, we are not happy with the proposed settlement scheme and we think it could be much better. There's a bill going through the House of Lords sponsored by Jonny Oates to improve the system.
We're also working to improve the rights of British citizens living abroad. A copy of our draft policy paper is to be found here and we're looking for comments.