Yesterday I was delighted to support Andy Burnham's motion calling on the government to commit to giving EU nationals already here in the UK the right to remain.
The motion read:
'That this House
notes that there are approximately three million nationals of other EU member states living in the UK;
further notes that many more UK nationals are related to nationals of other EU member states;
rejects the view that these men, women and children should be used as bargaining chips in negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU;
and calls on the Government to commit with urgency to giving EU nationals currently living in the UK the right to remain.'
It passed by 245 votes to 2, and although the Tories abstained it was good to see Boris Johnson - who of course led the Leave campaign - support the motion with enthusiasm.
Since the vote to leave the EU there has been a reported rise in race-hate crimes and abuse of migrants across the country, and here in Greater Manchester police say that reports are up by 50%. I have had several emails from constituents, including British-born people who have friendships or relationships with EU nationals, who are genuinely fearful about what the future holds for themselves and their loved ones. This is completely unacceptable. Nobody should live in fear, whether they are EU nationals living here or Brits living in the EU, and nor should they be used as 'bargaining chips' in any Brexit negotiations.
I believe it is absolutely vital that the government and all those in positions of influence make it crystal clear that migrants who are currently here are safe and are welcome, and I hope yesterday's vote helps to spread that message.