This article was first published on Huffington Post.
After a hard fought referendum, the Great British Public have voted to leave the European Union. The referendum was bitterly contested, but the arguments for democracy, sovereignty and control won the day. Unfortunately, this has left many people feeling hard done by. Despite this, the democratic choice of the people must be respected and calls for a second referendum should be treated with contempt.
We at Get Britain Out believe the best way to unite the country after this hard-won victory is to assuage any fears members of the public may have over the consequences of our leaving of the EU. One of the main concerns which has been raised is the status of EU migrants currently living in the UK.
Some unpleasant individuals have been treating these people in a despicable manner – which is not worthy of the hospitable spirit of the people of Great Britain. It is necessary to point out, these are a tiny minority of people who are merely looking for an excuse to fight – they do not reflect the beliefs of Leave campaigners in any sense.
Currently the favourite to become the next Leader of the Conservative Party and therefore Prime Minister is the current Home Secretary, Theresa May. Mrs May has refused to rule out sending EU citizens currently living in the UK back to the EU. Andrea Leadsom, her leadership rival, has been unequivocal in supporting the rights of EU migrants living in the UK. In fact, all the main Brexit figures have supported Leadsom in this regard, whether it be Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, will be holding provisional talks in Brussels to discuss the rights of both EU migrants living in the UK and UK migrants living in the rest of the EU.
When negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU, this subject will obviously be covered – as it was when Greenland left the EU.
The consequence of Brexit in relation to migration is for the UK’s democratically elected representatives to have control over who comes to this country in the future, and not to remove those who are already living and working here. EU migrants who live and work in the UK see this country as their home, and who are we to say they must go?
EU migrants who currently live in the UK, have – under international law – certain ‘acquired rights’. This essentially means the rights you enjoyed before a certain event occurred will continue to be enjoyed afterwards. The right in question concerns the residence of EU citizens currently living and working in the UK, and the event which would terminate these rights without this provision is of course Brexit. These rights can only be taken away if the parties agree to terminate or amend these rights. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell of the EU and the UK wishing to terminate the rights of both EU migrants in the UK – or UK expats living in the EU.
For those legal eagles out there, this piece of international law is covered under Article 70 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969. Neither the EU nor the UK will wish to become a pariah state by ignoring international law, despite the fierce rhetoric in the referendum campaign.
The UK has always been an open and tolerant nation, and will continue to be outside the EU. Many scare stories were thrown around before the referendum, and this one is demonstrably false. We at Get Britain Out would like to reassure all readers your right of residency will not be removed, as to do so would not only be immoral, but also illegal.