Jeremy Corbyn has told Islington Now he is “utterly determined” to back the Lords’ amendment to the Brexit bill, guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Corbyn made the comments at Islington Town Hall last Thursday, adding that the Labour party would be “very, very clear on this”.
“All [Labour MPs] are going to be asked to support it, every last one of them,” Corbyn affirmed in the meeting, held after a Labour meeting on NHS cuts.
Up to 30 Tory MPs are threatening to defy a likely government whip rejecting the amendment. If Corbyn orders his Labour MPs to vote down the bill, this could delay Theresa May’s plans to trigger Article 50 before the end of next month.
Islington Now spoke to members of public in Angel and Clerkenwell following Corbyn’s comments.
Harriet, from Washington DC, said: “It’s absolutely crucial that [EU citizens] stay. I work in a school and we couldn’t operate without our European colleagues. Half our teaching team are European nationals and we need that talent.”
Gary from London raged: “I don’t agree with anything Jeremy Corbyn says, he’s full of s**t. And I’m a Labour man! But you can’t just throw people out. Where they gonna go?”
Victoria, from Bedfordshire, said: “I wouldn’t listen to anything Jeremy Corbyn has to say about anything! I was for Brexit, but I can understand for EU citizens that are working here. It’s the ones that come over and aren’t working that I would send back.”
Corbyn told Islington Now that he had written a letter to socialist parties of the other 27 member states asking them to protect British citizens in their country, “in just the same way we’re campaigning for EU nationals”.
He also said he would be trying to pass further amendments to ensure Parliament would get a “clear decision on a final vote” and “regular reporting on voting issues of the negotiations.”
“I’m very clear on those three issues,” he concluded.
However, Corbyn refused to commit the Labour party to supporting a second referendum, saying he wanted “to have the best relationship with Europe”.
Corbyn has since defended his pledge. He tweeted: “Labour will fight for the rights of EU nationals – who live, work and have made this country their home – to remain in Britain.”
Image credit: Neil Brodie