Wandsworth Council Leader Presses PM Over EU Citizens' Status

Calls for 'absolute clarity' to be given as Brexit negotiations continue

Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council, has written to the Prime Minister calling for ‘absolute clarity’ to be given to EU Citizens over their future status in the UK.

In his letter to Theresa May he praised their contribution to life in Wandsworth which he describes as a highly diverse and culturally rich inner London borough.

Cllr Govindia spelled out the harmful impacts of continuing uncertainly and urges the Prime Minister to reassure EU citizens “that their future is here”. He says the need to reassure the European Union nationals resident in Wandsworth about their status in the UK is a high priority for him and the Council.

In late July the Government published a white paper setting its offer for UK based EU citizens to continue living here as they do now, with continuing rights to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions. These terms are now being negotiated with the Member States of the EU.

While these talks continue Cllr Govindia has instructed council officers to develop proposals for supporting and advising the borough’s European citizens on their rights and how the Government’s proposals could affect them.

Cllr Govindia said, “The current uncertainly EU residents face is unfair and debilitating. While I have no doubt they will be given the right to remain, they require absolute clarity now so they can plan their lives and make informed decisions in the interests of their families, careers and businesses. As someone who came to the UK from Uganda in 1972, I recall the decisiveness with which our Party in government acted and once that decision was made how much of a relief it was to my family and many others like us. “

Support for Remain was one of the highest of any local authority area in the country with over 75% voting that way in the 2016 referendum. EU citizens were not given the vote at that time but are still entitled to vote in local elections. Population figures from 2015 estimate that there are around 33,000 EU citizens resident in Wandsworth over 13% of the total population.


July 20, 2017