The Home Office Minister responded to the Belgian MEP’s accusation the UK is yet to keep its promise to look after EU citizens living in the UK post-Brexit. Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, the Belgian MEP claimed Strasbourg’s “consent”, necessary for the first stage of Brexit to be completed, will not be as straightforward as people think. He urged MEPs to deny such consent to the British Parliament when the time will come to rectify Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.
But Mr Lewis pointed out the UK has done far more than the EU to protect citizens’ rights post-Brexit.
He said: “EU citizens are our friends, colleagues and neighbours.
“We recognise the enormous contribution they make to the UK and we want them to stay.
“We have already provided certainty to over two million people who have been granted status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
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“Our Scheme is free, there is plenty of support for applicants and more than a year left to apply.
“We have done far more than any other EU member state has done for British citizens, and it’s time they adopted a similarly generous approach.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to seek to change the law to prevent the EU granting another delay to Brexit after both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made remarks about the bloc struggling to meet the Prime Minister’s current deadline.
MPs have been put on notice to vote as early as this Friday on his Brexit deal to crack on with the Prime Minister’s general election promise of getting the country out of the EU next month.