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‘This is their home’: Tulip Siddiq makes parliamentary plea for EU nationals over Brexit

MP makes fresh call for 'People's Vote' on Europe deal

23 November, 2018 — By Richard Osley

EUROPEAN Union nationals have been un­fairly left to sweat on their futures amid the chaotic Brexit deal debate, Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq warned on Monday.

She was speaking in a parliamentary debate on the UK’s upcoming divorce from Europe, during which she made a fresh call for a second referendum, the so-called “People’s Vote” on the final agreement.

“Some 22,000 EU nationals live in Hampstead and Kilburn, and it is in defence of their rights that I rise to speak,” she told Westminster Hall. “These are not people who have the right to vote for me. This is not about politics; it is about the fact that they have lived in the community for years and years. This is their home. They make an unquantifiable contribution to our community, our NHS, our businesses and our creative sectors.”

Ms Siddiq has openly diverted from the official national Labour Party line on Brexit since the referendum result. While the leadership at Westminster is considering the idea of a new national vote only as a second preference to a general election, Ms Siddiq fought last year’s general election on clear anti-Brexit lines and wants the public to have another say.

She told the debate: “Tory infighting is usually something I would welcome, because it is fun to watch blue on blue, but Brexit transcends party politics. “We have 130 days left before we crash out of the EU, and we do not know what we are going to do.”

Camden is one of the most Remain-heavy areas in the country, with three-quarters of those who took part in the 2016 referendum voting to stay in the union.

Her comments came a week after Camden Council officially called for the government to agree to the “People’s Vote” by favouring a Lib Dem motion. Significantly in Camden’s political world, the motion did not have a general election clause and included a call for remaining in Europe to be on a fresh ballot paper.

“It is time that we ditched our divisions and looked at the facts, because they are shocking,” said Ms Siddiq during her speech. “We have no majority for the Northern Ireland backstop, no majority for a deal that makes us a rule-taker, and no majority for a withdrawal agreement that leaves three million EU citizens facing unacceptable limbo.​” Meanwhile, pro-EU campaigners want to apply more pressure on Keir Starmer, the Holborn and St Pancras MP who is fronting Labour’s response to Brexit.

Local members of Open Britain have begun a petition calling for him to support the sentiments of last week’s council motion, as it was supported by colleagues in his own constituency.He hinted at a possible change of stance at the Labour conference in Liverpool this autumn but no official change in policy has so far materialised.

Sarah O’Keefe, organiser of Open Britain Hampstead, said: “Sir Keir must accept that the vast majority of Labour Party members, Camden councillors, voters in Holborn and St Pancras and people of the UK would prefer to remain inside the EU rather than be bullied into a detrimental deal on Brexit.”

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