Last week was a key week in the Brexit debate on both sides of the Channel. It saw both the House of Lords and the European Parliament debate the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and UK citizens living elsewhere in the union.
In the House of Lords, it was our Peers that spearheaded the campaign to vote for an amendment that protected the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
In the parliament, I spoke in the debate on the Rights of EU citizens in the UK, demanding that the commission ensures, as full members, the UK still upholds the rights of free movement and to remain. As a cross-party, cross-country collective, we asked the Commission what action they have taken against the UK with regards to infringement proceedings and what guidance they offer.
Commissioner Jerouva's response was inadequate to say the least but we will be continuing to apply pressure on the Commission to ensure the rights of EU citizens in the UK are safeguarded.
There are real people in every community who have based their life decisions on the certainty they can remain in the UK as EU citizens - to have this threat hanging over them is callous and amounts to political bargaining by our government.
Welcoming Lib Dem Councillors to Brussels
They were able to meet a representative from the Committee of the Regions - the body representing local councils and municipalities in the European Union, and where Liberal Democrats play a leading role.
They also met with Ex-BBC journalist and media coach, Laura Shields who coached the group through good story telling and communicating with voters. We are organising a media training session at Conference for our candidates - if you are a candidate and are interested in attending, please email Audrey Eager on [email protected]
Since 2008, the Commission has issued 29 infringement proceedings concerning freedom of movement rights against a number of member states, including the UK.
Once Article 50 is invoked, the UK will still remain full members of the EU and yet a Lib Dem FOI request has shown rejections of UK residency to EU nationals have hit an all-time high of 28%.
Although the Commission's statement above shows they are not willing to make the stand to protect EU citizens in the UK until Article 50 is invoked, they have assured us they will be providing guidance to the UK government to ensure they comply.
My colleagues and I in the Parliament will be pushing them to take action to protect these rights once the negotiations have begun.
Catherine Bearder MEP