Will Forster

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking and Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Jonathan Lord votes to block physical proof for 8,280 EU citizens in Woking

by willforster on 20 October, 2020

The Lib Dems and I have warned that Jonathan Lord, Conservative MP for Woking, is risking a “new Windrush-style scandal”, after he voted to refuse to offer EU citizens proof of their right to stay in the UK.

Yesterday, Tory MPs overturned a Lib Dem amendment to the Immigration Bill, which passed in the House of Lords just weeks ago.  The amendment would require the Home Office to give EU nationals physical proof of Settled and Pre-Settled Status, rather than the digital-only system the Home Office is currently pursuing.

Conservatives in the House of Commons rejected the amendment by 331 votes to 260.  Woking’s MP was among those voting to scrap the amendment, while Lib Dem MPs and MPs in all other parties voted to retain it.

The latest Home Office figures show that, as of the end of June, 8,280 people in Woking have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme for the right to stay in the UK after the Brexit transition period ends.  4,380 have been granted Settled Status so far, while a further 3,310 have been granted temporary Pre-Settled Status.

The Tories’ decision to overturn this Lib Dem amendment shows how empty their promises to guarantee citizens’ rights after Brexit really are. Their Hostile Environment is, sadly, alive and well.

The Windrush Scandal showed the devastating impact of the Hostile Environment on people who cannot easily prove their rights.  By denying EU nationals physical proof of Settled Status, the Government risks making them the victims of a new Windrush-style Scandal.

EU citizens in Woking are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers.  They have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for far too long.

By refusing to provide EU national with physical proof of their rights and forcing them to rely on a digital code and an online Home Office database, Woking’s MP is putting them at risk of discrimination. The Lib Dems are fighting for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with physical proof of their status.

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