Monday 13 March 2017

The Tories just voted to allow Theresa May to continue using EU citizens' lives as bargaining chips

The House of Lords tried to add two amendments to the Tories' Brexit Bill but they were both stripped out again by the Tory government in the House of Commons.

One amendment was to ensure that Parliament has an actual vote on whether Theresa May is able to trigger a socially and economically ruinous nuclear Brexit if her ridiculous threat-based posturing fails to secure a good Brexit deal with the EU.

Before that safeguard was removed, the Tories (with assistance from UKIP, the DUP and a few Eurosceptic Labour rebels) won the vote by 335-287 and scrapped the other Lords amendment designed to ensure that Theresa May doesn't use the lives of the estimated 3 million EU citizens in the UK as bargaining chips in her dangerous game of brinkmanship.

The amendment that the Tories scrapped did nothing more than require the government to bring forward proposals about how they plan to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the EU by the summer. Here's the precise wording:
"Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), ministers of the crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future."

It's absolutely clear from the way that the Tories scrapped an amendment that says nothing more than that they should begin seriously considering the rights of EU citizens in the UK, that the Tories see these people's lives as nothing more than bargaining collateral that they can try to squeeze the EU with.

The Tories have shown utter contempt for the concerns of all these EU citizens who live, work, and have families in the UK. They simply don't care about the worries, stresses, and anxieties they're causing so many people by refusing to quell the uncertainty over their futures.

Aside from making a clear demonstration to EU citizens living and working in Britain that the Tories don't give a shit about them, another implication from this decision is that the EU are likely to further harden their negotiating stance. If the Tory government are prepared to keep the Sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of UK-based EU citizens in order to do some hardline posturing for the right-wing press, the EU negotiating team are hardly likely to go into the negotiations offering any of the kind of ridiculous favours for her corporate mates that Theresa May is demanding.

Using people's actual lives as bargaining collateral is disgusting, and clearly indicates that the Tories are completely unwilling to go into the upcoming negotiations in good faith. The consequences are that millions of UK-based EU citizens will be feeling like the country they live in don't give a shit about them, and that by treating their citizens in this way the Tories are pissing off the other EU member states and making the impending threat of a catastrophic Tory nuclear Brexit even more likely than it already was.

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