Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie: Westminster must act to protect EU citizens

Leaders agree that right to remain should be granted en masse

THE 170,000 people from other European nations living and working in Scotland should be given full reassurance that they have the right to remain, according to political leaders at the Holyrood parliament. 

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP proposed that the UK Government must show leadership in granting the right to remain with emergency legislation in response to the uncertainty of the vote to Leave the EU.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon agreed that all should be done to provide security, and make people feel welcome. Sturgeon supported Harvie’s suggestion of legislation to protect the citizenship of millions of people from other EU nations who live in the UK. 

Harvie, welcoming the Scottish Government’s messages of support to all communities across the country, asked: “Does she [Sturgeon] agree with me that the way for the UK Government to allay those concerns is to introduce urgent emergency legislation to immediately give all EU citizens already in this country indefinite leave to remain?”

Sturgeon replied: “I think the UK Government should now make clear that everybody living here from other European countries, that their right to remain here will not be affected by anything that happens over the course of the Brexit negotiations.”

Sturgeon said the campaign’s proponents had “spent more time stabbing each other in the back than preparing for the consequences of their actions.”

Sturgeon called on the potential Tory leadership candidates to make that pledge in their campaigns. 

The final first minister’s questions session before the summer recess focused on the backlash to the UK vote to Leave the EU, while Scotland voted by 62 per cent to Stay. 

Harvie described the Leave campaign as “chief fraudsters”. Sturgeon said the campaign’s proponents had “spent more time stabbing each other in the back than preparing for the consequences of their actions.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie both attacked the Tory party for calling then losing a referendum that has caused widespread concern, increased support for Scottish independence, while no contingency plan had been prepared at Westminster. 

After David Cameron announced his plan to resign as prime minister, the process of the UK Leaving the EU has been delayed until a new leader is elected later this year. 

Simultaneously the Scottish Government, acting on the result in Scotland, received cross party support to attempt negotiations to keep Scotland within the EU. 

Sturgeon met with EU leaders in Brussels for preliminary talks. 

Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV

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