Evidence of the damage Brexit is doing to the country is increasing, as is the evidence that the will of the people is changing.
Some of the most convincing evidence of the change in the will of the people is the shift of opinion among the unions and their members. The motion that the TUC passed on Monday, along with the poll of Unison, Unite and GMB members confirms this.
All this is encouraging MPs, across all parties, to question the government’s premise that the choice is simple: whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.
The opposition to Brexit is growing, not because of some dogmatic, ideological opposition but because of the evidence that membership of the EU, with the concessions and opt-outs the UK has, is in the best interests of the UK. Those concessions were hard-fought and hard-won, and once lost will be gone for good, in all likelihood.
Brexit is being defended with all the negatives of ideologues who know there is nothing positive about their chosen course, but believe that they are being betrayed by everybody else turning against them – the original bunker mentality.
Meanwhile we are working away at documenting just how little protection there is for UK citizens’ rights in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
The fact of the matter is that UK citizens’ rights can only be properly protected by the UK remaining in the EU. Any other option will result in those rights being diminished and even removed due to political expediency and pressures that play on both the UK and the EU27.
We have known for a long while just how big the gaps in the draft Withdrawal Agreement are when it comes to protecting citizenship rights. The EU and the UK have translated/downgraded citizenship rights to the right of residence and the limited right to work and study.
Too much is being predicated on the future relationship of the EU and the UK, whatever that might be, if anything, and ignores the historical situation. This is all a matter of political expediency because a proper job is just too complicated and time-consuming.
What is less obvious is that the rights being offered are in fact less than are available to citizens of non-EU countries who are long-term residents of or have long-term interests in EU countries.
There is another completely forgotten group, those UK citizens who live, work, study or have interests in Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The negotiations about what protections may apply to them are still ongoing, according to the UK government.
The reality is that UK citizenship rights are enshrined in the laws and regulations of the other EU and EEA countries. The half-hearted protestations of the UK and EU negotiators that they are being protected are little more than political window dressing.
That is not to say that there isn’t any redress available for the removal of these citizenship rights, there is, the work by our legal team shows that. But it will involve individuals and groups of individuals challenging governments and possibly the EU in the courts.
We should not accept the reduction or restriction of these fundamental rights by government or administrative fiat, just as we didn’t when Theresa May tried to trigger Article 50 using archaic Royal Prerogative.
We will continue to support, and intervene in or initiate where appropriate, challenges to the UK government and the EU which protect the constitutional right of UK citizens to have their citizenship rights determined and protected by the UK’s Parliament.
Politicians cannot be allowed to bodge what is happening today and threaten the future of the UK in order to cover their incompetence/ignorance at the expense of the people of the UK.
Over the next few weeks we will set out in more detail how UK citizens’ rights are being ignored and compromised in the Brexit negotiations.
What is very clear is that the only way to fully protect UK citizenship rights is for the UK to remain in the EU and for the UK’s Parliament to face up to its responsibilities as the protector of those rights.
As UK citizens we also have a responsibility to stand up for Parliamentary sovereignty and support our representatives, parliamentarians and others, in protecting our rights.
We value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.
Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.
Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.
There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.
To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.
Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.
Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.