Today I received the email below, reports on a meeting which took place in Bedford last Thursday, 9th March 2017.
I was unable to attend the meeting. I was at another meeting arguing to save the jobs of colleagues teaching in Bedford.
The reality is that people who have lived, worked, brought up their families, and made their home in Bedford for many years, are facing the prospect that the life they have built may come to an end. Yet again politics is being put before people.
The truth is that people should always be the priority. And these people have enriched the life and culture of Bedford over many years. We don’t want to lose them. We can’t afford to lose them.
Some of my colleagues, EU Nationals, attended the meeting with Richard Fuller MP. The email is reproduced below.
Apology if you have already received this. This is to keep you up to date with the meeting that took place last Thursday at the university of Bedfordshire regarding the right to stay for EU citizens.
Over 30 residents from Bedford’s Indian, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch and French communities made their feelings known when they came to listen to Richard Fuller, MP for Kempston and Bedford, as he explained his decision to vote against amendments made by the House of Lords to the rights of EU Citizens living in the U.K. The event, which took place on Thursday 9th of March at 7pm at the University of Bedfordshire, was organised by Bedfordshire EU Community and UNISON, University and Bedford Health branch.
The communities wanted assurance of the unilateral right for EU citizens living in the UK to remain here following Brexit. Richard Fuller explained that he will not vote in favour of the amendments made by the House of Lords next week in Parliament; however he would take into account the views of the communities and will raise their points.
At one point, Liberal Democrat councillor, Henry Vann, asked Richard Fuller in which circumstances he would change his mind regarding the vote. Mr Fuller explained that if there were any signs that the Government was not keeping to their promises regarding granting the right to stay to EU citizens who have been here over five years, then he would campaign against the Government. This was a turning point in the debate as two members of the audience, a French-born Bedford resident who has been in the UK for 17 years and a Polish lady who has been here over 13 years, described the reality of their situation.
The gentleman explained he had completed the 85 page document to ask for Permanent Residency and was denied. He then received a letter to say, ‘it was time that he starts packing his bag’. This confirmed the feeling in the room that behind closed doors, the Home Office has been refusing the right to stay to legitimate EU citizens.
One person at the end of the debate said: ‘ A number of us are not entitled to vote in general elections, it feels that our views do not count.’
Bedfordshire EU Community is setting up a support group for residents affected by Brexit. For further information please contact Chantal Lewis on 01234 219148.
If you support an amendment to the Article 50 Bill guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals as the Bill is going through the House of Commons this week, please email your MP.