EU citizens living in Welwyn Hatfield attended an informative Q&A event with local MP Grant Shapps and Samia Badani from New Europeans, a group which provides a platform and strong voice for Europeans in the Brexit debate.
The event gave participants an opportunity to meet Grant and challenge him and the Government on the ‘Brexit process’. Questions on a number of issues were raised, including voting rights for EU nationals post-Brexit, the possibility of a second referendum, the UK’s future trading arrangements and media coverage of EU nationals in national newspapers.
Grant said: “As we exit the EU, I think it’s absolutely essential that European nationals living in the UK feel a sense of security about their future. I strongly welcome the December 2017 agreement, which makes it clear that anyone who is here now, or indeed anyone who arrives here from the EU prior to our actually leaving on 29th March 2019, will be welcome to stay. I would go further in encouraging people to stay and in time even becoming British citizens too. The UK benefits enormously from immigration and we should always be a beacon for the brightest and the best. Even after we leave the EU, Britain will remain an outward looking, welcoming and tolerant place for those who have a contribution to make to British society.
“As the MP for Welwyn Hatfield, anyone in the borough who is concerned about their EU residence status should feel free to contact me. I want to thank New Europeans and Michal Siewniak in particular for taking the initiative to arrange such a useful event.”
Michal Siewniak, East of England Regional Coordinator for New Europeans, said: “I felt that the evening was a fantastic opportunity to get some clarity (where possible) on EU citizens’ rights but also to let our MP know that we want to be part of the decision making process, and we want our voices to be heard! Moreover, I was equally happy because this event in so many ways helped us to connect local residents with ‘parliamentary democracy’. Many of the attendees had an opportunity to listen to their MP and ask him questions about issues close to their hearts. The voice of EU nationals is quite important and shouldn’t be neglected.”