Boost for Brits in EU as UK government backs key Brexit amendment

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Boost for Brits in EU as UK government backs key Brexit amendment
Photo: AFP

Campaigners for the rights of Britons across the EU were celebrating a small but potentially significant victory on Wednesday when the UK government announced it would back an amendment aimed at protecting the rights of Brits after Brexit.


After a day of confusion and chaos in Westminster the UK government gave a much-needed and timely boost to the 1.2 million Britons living through out the EU and the 3 million in EU citizen in the UK when it decided to back a potentially crucial amendment.

The amendment, put forward by Conservative MP Alberto Costa, would, if given the green light by MPs on Wednesday evening, force British Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a deal with the EU to ring-fence the citizens' rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement before Brexit Day on March 29th.

On Tuesday Prime Minister May had spoken against the amendment and then on Wednesday MP Alberto Costa was forced to resign from the government, much to the disgust and shock of other MPs and campaigners. 


But then to everyone's surprise the government announced it would back the amendment. With the support of the government plus at least 150 MPs from all parties, both pro and anti-Brexit, it appears certain the amendment will be voted through.

Campaign groups British in Europe and the3Million were celebrating victory.


However there is still a long way to go before the rights of Britons are ring-fenced.
On Tuesday Theresa May suggested the EU "did not have the legal authority to do a separate deal on citizens' rights without a new mandate." 
Although the3Millon say their own legal experts suggest she is wrong.
Speaking on Wednesday Minister David Lidington said the EU had previously made it clear that it would not allow just the citizens' rights part of the withdrawal agreement to stand on its own.
But he says the government will now take it up with Brussels and see if they can be persuaded to change position.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

[email protected] 2019/03/02 10:29
Do we know yet if this ring-fencing applies just to those who already have cartes de sejour of some kind. Our prefecture will not take in any applications until May, so they say, and hence are we left out in the cold?
[email protected] 2019/02/27 18:18
Where does the figure of 1.2 million Brits in Europe come from? Are they the ones who are registered with a British Embassy/Consulate? Apart the fact that we renew our British passports every ten years for nearly 4 decades, no-one in British officialdom has a clue where my wife and I live - and there are doubtless many like us. So what is the real number of disenfranchised Brits on the continent, I wonder? I would guess far in excess of the official number.

See Also