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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Jean co-signs letter to EU leaders urging them to ring-fence citizens’ rights

17 January 2019

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, has co-signed a letter to EU leaders calling for swift action to protect the rights of citizens in the event of a chaotic ‘no deal’ scenario.

Jean joined 24 other cross-party MEPs in signing the letter, which calls on the EU to ring-fence citizens’ rights – unilaterally if necessary – to reassure millions that their rights will be upheld regardless of which course the UK Government chooses.

Read the full text of the letter below, or in PDF format here.


Dear President Tusk, Dear Mr Barnier, Dear President Juncker, Dear Mr Verhofstadt,

We are writing to urgently request that you act now to ring-fence the rights of citizens within the Brexit negotiations.  We believe the EU should if needs be do this unilaterally and commit our good offices to urge the UK government to do the same.

Following the rejection by the House of Commons of the UK Government’s deal on the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship with the EU, it is of crucial importance that action is taken swiftly to calm the very real fears of many EU citizens across the continent. The scale of the defeat (230 votes) means that the deal as it currently stands seems very unlikely to ever pass the House of Commons.  This would mean that the operative provisions on Citizens Rights may not come into effect, impacting upon millions of European citizens resident in the UK and UK citizens across the EU.

It is unacceptable that our citizens have been subject to such uncertainty so long and where we fully recognise the failure is on the UK side, we now need the European Union to live up to its promises given that it has the capacity to do so.

Were the Member States to come together at Council level and agree to enshrine the rights of UK nationals – including their existing freedom of movement rights – in a legally binding agreement as an EU-wide solution, rather than rely on more piecemeal national legislation for each individual Member State which can be adjusted or overturned at any moment, we believe that this would act as a huge incentive for the UK government to reciprocate.

We absolutely appreciate the reasoning behind your previously stated position that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, however we have now reached such a point that it is entirely possible that nothing at all will be agreed. Therefore, we kindly urge you to now look at salvaging whatever possible on the behalf of our citizens who are so desperately seeking reassurances.

We thank you for your urgent consideration and look forward to a positive reply.


Richard Ashworth MEP

Catherine Bearder MEP

Paul Brannan MEP

Richard Corbett MEP

Seb Dance MEP

Jill Evans MEP

Julie Girling MEP

Theresa Griffin MEP

Mary Honeyball MEP

John Howarth MEP

Wajid Khan MEP

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

David Martin MEP

Linda McAvan MEP

Clare Moody MEP

Rory Palmer MEP

Molly Scott Cato MEP

Alyn Smith MEP

Catherine Stihler MEP

Charles Tannock MEP

Keith Taylor MEP

Derek Vaughan MEP

Julie Ward MEP