Reassurance to all EU citizens living and working in the Wokingham constituency

I have always said to those worried that I am sure all EU citizens living and working legally in Wokingham now will be free to stay if they wish after Brexit. The UK government has always indicated that is it wish, but pointed out we need the same assurance for our citizens living on the continent. At last Mr Juncker, the President of the Commission, seems to have said as much. He regards, he says, such a matter as one of “respecting human dignity”. He said “This is not about bargaining”. Exactly.


I will continue to press the EU to do the right thing, as I want all to be reassured that there will  be no forced evictions of people following Brexit. I know we all in Wokingham want those full reassurances. We seem to be much closer to them today.

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  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    What is odd in the EU attitude is that it anyway seems illegal under existing international law to change the residency status (or even deport) EU nationals already resident in other EU countries. The law is along the lines that rights granted to people under a treaty cannot be retrospectively removed if that treaty is no longer in effect – John may know precise details.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Arguably that applies to states rather than to their citizens.

    • acorn
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Citizenship is not an EU competence, it is a member state competence under UN Law. For UK citizens resident in Spain or France, it will be those member states that decide the fate of UK citizens, not the EU. The EU just adds the “freedom of movement” around the EU bit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        That is not what member state governments have said.

  2. Gawd!
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Voters in the Wokingham constituency may be wondering why the PM has not signed Article 50 allowing the EU to even start the process of looking into the matter. The EU is so large and cumbersome it is unable to react other than in accordance with rules which Mrs May fully understands and supports. She is a Remainer .Does she have cramp in her fingers? Can she sign with a “X”…. We did! ( 23rd June 2016 )

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    What about the substantial number not in gainful employment or earning below the £18k required for inward migration.
    We shouldn’t allow anyone to stay who would receive inwork benefits.
    Employers should be forced to ensure their foreign staff have comprehensive health insurance and the children educated privately.
    Why should the taxpayer subsidise foreigners EU citizens or otherwise.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      “Employers should be forced to ensure their foreign staff have comprehensive health insurance and the children educated privately” well perhaps the employee should just pay that themselves.

      Private education might cost from £30K to £70K (say 50K average) for two children perhaps another £4K for family medical cover but then these are taxed as benefits in kind + NI on top so the employer would have to add about the same again £108K + to the normal living on salary for them to be able to do that!

      This as people who use private health and education are expected to pay for everyone else’s state provision as well. Also the socialist Hammond has put now 12% IPT tax on medical and other insurance to rub further salt in the wound.

      If Michael Gove (now clearly a daft socialist after his Boris knifing) had his way he would even put 20% VAT on top of school fees too, and kill their charitable status!

      The solution is education vouchers or tax credits, health vouchers or tax credits, far less tax, freedom and choice for all.

      Another tax (hypothecated for the dire NHS) as some foolish female Tory MP was calling for today would be very stupid. The NHS’s problem is not lack of money it is an unworkable and incompetent system that does not give a damn about the “customers” it just wants them to go away.

    • Owen Francis
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      What about the woman, French citizen, who is married to a UK citizen, they have both been resident in the UK for 40 years. She has never had salaried employment, but has brought up the children etc. She is entitled to use the NHS because she is ordinarily resident here. She applies now for permanent residence but is told she cannot have it because she does not have comprehensive sickness insurance.

      Since time immemorial people have been allowed to take spouses/partners from other countries, its good for the gene pool.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Quite, we the taxpayer have we taken advantage of enough.

      Those who contribute are welcome to stay, those who are a drain should be exiled. Then we can start ensuring that our own malingerers start to pay their way too.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        been taken advantage

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Well. We can expect a flood of EU immigrants securing their UK status to beat the Brexit deadline.

    Sorry. If you have no work and no means of support then it’s time to go back. Yes. I think the arrangement should be reciprocal for British people in the EU.

    A points based/visa system like all sensible countries have, please.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      May ruled out a points scheme (for some moronic reason that she did never explained).

      So they will have to be called merits, bananas, tallies or something daft I suppose. Either that or all will have to be judged on individually which will be rather subjective and depend rather on the views of the person judging.

  5. Charles Cara
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John, but it seems you did not get the Brexit memo – we have control of immigration now. You could have made that assurance real by voting for the Lord’s amendment to the Brexit Bill. Instead, you voted against and so my wife does not have assured residency despite living in the UK for over 25 years.

    The UK Home Office Permanent Residency rules unfairly penalise homemakers with their minimum income requirement. Meanwhile the UK has made a retrospective change its the rules for the ‘Comprehensive Health Insurance’ requirement, that mean EEA nationals who have brought up children are very unlikely to meet the residency rules – we had E111 cards but they were from the UK.

    These are all issues that the UK, not the EU, not Juncker control, so it is time the UK parliament did the right thing.

    Reply We are still in the EU under EU migration and residence rules. They control our policy until w have left

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      The PR rules and paperwork required by the Home Office are ridiculous.

      85+ page form and £1000+ and you need to send in your passport with no time scale for getting it back….bureaucratic nonsense…

      • Owen Francis
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Only certain parts of the form need to be filled in. For some cases it can be filled in online and then there are less than 10 pages usually. The fee for PR is £65, citizenship is different.

        The applicant can take passport to local passport office where it is authenticated and the whole application sent forward and the passport returned immediately.

        I agree that it is very bureaucratic with many different routes and complications so it is not surprising that many people get into trouble.

      • Simon
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        30% being rejected too.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      But the import of the Lords amendment was that having been rebuffed in her attempts to secure bi-lateral agreements our Prime Minister should just roll over and give a unilateral guarantee. Inevitably that would have been interpreted as a sign of weakness and would have been seen as a precedent for everything else that needs to be negotiated – “Seems we only have to refuse Theresa May whatever she proposes and she will give in to what we want instead”. That problem would not have arisen if she had acted unilaterally immediately after taking office – on the contrary, it would have put her on the moral highground and the EU on the back foot – but she didn’t, and once rebuffed it was too late for her to do it.

      • Charles Cara
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        So my wife and my family have to pay the price of this unelected prime minister not want to look tough. Good grief….

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          By this late stage most of the price has already been paid. It could have been sorted out straight away if Theresa May had rejected the bad advice from Sir Ivan Rogers and had acted unilaterally, as she should have done, then it could have been sorted out months ago if other EU leaders had not rebuffed her attempts to do that, now it is too late for unilateral action when it will shortly figure in the exit negotiations.

    • sm
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Why has your wife, Mr Cara, not applied for British citizenship after all these years?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      My wife earned nothing when we applied for naturalisation.

      The paperwork is reasonable for the request to become a British citizen but I agree that the fee is ridiculous.

      If your wife has been resident and adhered to the rules she will be succesful

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Common-sense it would seem is likely to prevail at last.

    On the same subject.

    Are we going to do the very, very simple thing on the day after we send in the article 50 letter, and stamp all passports of anyone entering the UK from then on in, so we know when they arrived here.

    Failure to produce a passport, (conveniently lost or destroyed) should there be any future argument about peoples immigration dates, should result in the default position that they are deemed to have arrived, after the date of the article 50 letter.

    Only investment is in a rubber stamp and ink, no expensive computer programmes required to be purchased, immigration looks at all passports (or should anyway) so no extra time needed at immigration.

    Simple and effective, so guess it will never happen, as that is not how our Government usually seems to work.

    • Charles Cara
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately there is a flaw in this cunning plan.

      If an EEA person living in the UK goes, to say to visit a sick relative, when they return their passport will be stamped. They then loose their residency rights.

      EEA people effectively become prisoners in the UK.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 25, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


        They could become British citizens before they go away and visit.

        They should have a record of Income tax and National insurance contributions paid over many years if they have been working here.

        They will have a valid National Insurance number and be registered with a GP practice on record.

        Many ways to prove past residence with official documents.

        Still do not see a problem.

    • Jack snell
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Alan Jutson

      We shouldn’t be too concerned now about further immigration from the EU as word has now gone out loud and clear all around europe about our attitude towards foreigners that no young european in his right mind would want to come to this country anyway. In fact it gets better because i hear a lot of young european foreigners who were working here are already leaving- they are voting with their feet. My guess is that in a few years time things will settle down and we’ll have things pretty much to ourselves as we wish- of course we’ll then have to train up more of our own in the retail, hospitality and services industries just to get by. Likewise young english boys and girls will have to work shift and get out into the fields early in the morning to pick fruit etc- jobs for everone and interesting times ahead.

    • Mark
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      You would also need to make exit stamps, otherwise everyone who comes here on holiday or for a short business visit would get a stamp of authority to live here. We’re not set up for that.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 25, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


        So make exit date stamps as well then, not exactly a huge expense is it.

        Where there is a will, there is a way.

        Problem is too many people cannot be bothered of have the will, they all want to0 look for complications not to resolve issues.

      • hefner
        Posted March 26, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Have you ever considered the possibility that every time you go through the UK borders and your passport is checked, there is a computer track “on the system”? I would think that compared to countries in the Schengen area, Britain being out of Schengen and an island is rather well set up for that.
        Nowadays entry and exit stamps without a digital track are worthless.

        You might want to address the problems linked to benefits but I think the fuss made about border control is just that, fuss a la Dacre.

    • Simon
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      The thing is it is very easy to come & go without showing a passport at all. Never mind getting it stamped.

      • hefner
        Posted March 26, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        How easy? Whether I leave through Heathrow, Gatwick, the Channel Tunnel or via Eurostar, I always have a passport control and it is usually more than a glimpse at it from the officer. To come back via LHR and LGW, the automats checking passports won’t let one go in without a recognised passport.
        Where do you come and go, Simon, not to show your passport? I am rather curious.

  7. Bert Young
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Please tell Heseltine to re-read his history and get his facts right . Germany’s position in the EU was , and will remain , a powerful one . Our leaving will not change this condition one iota . As for Theresa switching her position , she has done nothing more than respect democracy and the result of the referendum .

  8. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Can anybody suggest a rational reason why there has been such procrastination by Theresa May? I realise procrastination runs through her veins, based on past experiences, but nine months to execute the will of the people makes no sense?

    All it has accomplished to date is to create a great deal of uncertainty, European ire, continued citizen divide and allowed callous human inhibitors to Brexit to surface from the proverbial woodwork!

  9. Richard1
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Quite why Mrs May doesnt just seize the initiative and the moral high ground and announce that all EU residents can stay I don’t know. There isn’t a risk to UK citizens in the EU as has now been made clear again and in any event they are protected by law. In the spirit of getting on with Brexit and making the most of it it’s best to generate goodwill, to have the moral high ground and to take initiatives to get issues dealt with to bolster confidence. This lawyerly approach isn’t going to improve the result but is going to have a cost in uncertainty and goodwill in the meantime.

    More generally are we going to see people with negotiation experience in the private sector brought in to advise ministers? I don’t have confidence civil servants and diplomats are best placed for this.

  10. Iain Moore
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem very clever offering millions of people the right to stay here, when we are told a third of us will lose our jobs to robotics.

    • hefner
      Posted March 26, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Could it be the jobs offered will be to people able to deal with robots?

  11. David Tomlinson
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I seem to be on your blacklist for comments on any subject, but I’ll try just one more time with this question: what is your justification for granting all present EU citizens indefinite right to remain?

  12. John E
    Posted March 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t comment on this post originally as it seemed eminently reasonable and I had nothing to add.
    But seeing some hostile comments from others I will just say that this Wokingham constituent supports your position.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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