Theresa May affirms commitment to EU nationals ‘no matter what'

21 September 2018 by
Theresa May affirms commitment to EU nationals ‘no matter what'

Theresa May has affirmed a unilateral commitment to protect EU nationals in the UK regardless of the Brexit deal negotiated, in an impromptu speech from number 10.

The PM reached out to EU citizens living in the UK, stating "we are your friends", while confirming Europeans would not be removed from the country in a no deal scenario in a statement that has been welcomed by the industry.

Her speech, which was broadcast live from Downing Street, did little to change the course of Brexit - repeating her commitment to either seek her Chequers proposal or a no deal scenario.

She said: "Yesterday [European Council President] Donald Tusk said our proposals would undermine the single market. He didn't explain how in any detail, or make any counter proposal, so we are at an impasse."

The statement has largely been received as a political strategy to put pressure on the EU, look strong in the face of criticism and remove any doubt of her course ahead of the Conservative part conference.

She also made clear she would not commit to any agreement that placed a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

In a show of strength to the European Union and her detractors in the UK, May said: "The EU should be clear, I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country. We need serious engagement in resolving the two big problems in the negotiations and we stand ready."

UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls said the message was "very positive" for this industry.

She said: "The Prime Minister stated today, in clear, unambiguous terms, that in the event of a "no deal" Brexit, EU citizens currently living and working in the UK will retain their current rights. This is a hugely welcome categorical reassurance for hospitality, which employs many EU citizens who apply their talents and services to customers across the UK.

"This is a very positive message for the hospitality employers and their team members and we need to communicate this message loud and clear."

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