City councillors to debate EU citizens' rights
City councillors are to debate a motion celebrating the contribution EU citizens bring to Gloucester.
More than 7,500 EU citizens live in the city and many will be the backbone of vital public services, such as the NHS and the care sector.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding the Government ends the uncertainty surrounding the rights of the 3.6 million EU citizens who live in the UK in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
The motion, which will be debated by city councillors on January 24, calls on the city council to help EU citizens in Gloucester apply for permanent residence and citizenship.
Lib Dem deputy group leader Councillor Declan Wilson, who is proposing the motion, said:
"The referendum created a cloud of uncertainty for EU citizens which have been living under ever since.
"Would they be able to continue to live, work and study here if the UK leaves the EU?
"The Lib Dems secured a promise from the Government that those rights would be protected, which is what the draft Withdrawal Agreement does.
"However, there is no guarantee that a Withdrawal Agreement will be finalised before we are due to leave the EU on March 29.
"There has been an increase in xenophobic and racist threats, abuse and violence against foreign nationals since the Brexit vote but thankfully Gloucester is a tolerant and friendly city and we have not had that here.
"Gloucester is a lovely place to live and people from the EU and beyond have a valuable contribution to make to the city."
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who is seconding the motion, added:
"There are thousands of EU citizens living in Gloucester. They are our neighbours, our friends, our family and the backbone of many of our services. They deserve to know that we appreciate the positive benefits that they bring to our city."
"The defeat of Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons now adds even more uncertainty for everyone. Liberal Democrats are calling for a Peoples' Vote to end the parliamentary impasse."
The motion says:
"This Council recognises the invaluable contribution being made by EU citizens, working in both the public and private sectors, in making Gloucester a better place for us all to live and work.
This Council therefore:
Pledges to support and protect all EU citizens who live or work in the City, throughout and after the Brexit process;
Confirms that it believes that all EU citizens in the City should retain their right to vote in and be candidates in local elections
Requests Cabinet to explore ways in which it can help EU citizens in the City apply for permanent residence and citizenship."
Proposer: Declan Wilson
Seconder: Jeremy Hilton