Theresa May. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Theresa May should stop playing politics with people’s futures: #right2remain
This weekend the TUC and the British Chambers of Commerce issued a call to the Prime Minister to break the logjam on the #right2remain for EU citizens living and working in the UK, and take the bold, unilateral and morally right step. Joining up with the BCC means we have now issued joint statements with the three leading business organisations (CBI, IoD and BCC). The social partners couldn’t be clearer, and the Government is clearly worried.
How else to explain Theresa May’s doomed attempt to start one part of the Article 50 negotiations early at the European Council meeting last week where her isolation couldn’t be clearer. And how else to explain the tortured logic of unknown Conservative MP Michael Tomlinson, who issued a confused call on European Union leaders to start bargaining over people’s lives by claiming that:
“It’s just not fair to use real people, flesh and blood as bargaining chips…”?
Michael Tomlinson should accept that the only way not to use people as bargaining chips is, er, not to bargain over them, but take the unilateral step of giving nearly 3 million Europeans in Britain the right to remain, as they, the British people and both sides of business want!
Meanwhile the Prime Minister should stop using European Council meetings to play games with people’s lives, and start working out how to get a deal with the rest of Europe that maintains working people’s rights and jobs.
Of course we want the hundreds of thousands of British people currently living in the rest of the EU to have the same right to remain that we want for Europeans in Britain. But the best way to get that before Article 50 negotiations begin is to take a unilateral step. It might well be reciprocated and would certainly be a good place to start in winning the right to remain for everyone.
The reason why Conservatives are getting as illogical as Michael Tomlinson, and as hypocritical as the Prime Minister is that they are looking for someone to blame for their continued refusal to grant the right to remain. They know that they are on the wrong side of this debate, and they know that there is almost certainly a parliamentary majority for such a unilateral act.
Now that the British Future panel I was part of (along with an equal number of ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ supporters) has sorted out the technical details, it’s our job to push the politicians to do their bit and force the Government to accept the inevitable. the panel’s chair, Labour Leaver Gisela Stuart, has already pressed the Prime Minister at PMQs, and we need to step up the pressure.