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Plymouth Lib Dem's EU citizenship petition handed in to 10 Downing Street

February 18, 2018 6:35 PM

The petition being handed in to 10 Downing StreetStuart Bonar, a former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in the city, was in Downing Street earlier this month to hand in a petition signed by over 36,000 people. The petition calls on the Prime Minister to negotiate the right for British people to keep their EU citizenship after Brexit, if they want to.

Speaking after handing the petition in to 10 Downing Street, pictured, Stuart Bonar explained, "Right now, with the UK still a member of the EU, Brits are also citizens of the European Union. This means we can all live, travel, work, study, retire, and start a business throughout the 27 other countries of the European Union with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss and bother. The UK is however scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm on 29th March next year, and at that moment many of the opportunities we have in life will disappear - or, at best, endure for a little longer during a transition phase.

"So, this petition calls on the Prime Minister to seek to secure, as part of the exit deal that the Government will shortly start to negotiate, the opportunity for UK citizens who want to maintain their citizenship of the EU, with all the freedoms and opportunities that go with that, to do so.

Stuart, who stood for Parliament in the Plymouth Moor View constituency in 2010 and again in 2015, continued, "Nobody would be forced to remain an EU citizen. The petition does not call for Brexit to be cancelled. There is no reason why negotiating this would stop Theresa May delivering on any of the promises she has made. Indeed, it would allow pro-Europeans who value their EU citizenship to keep it, whilst allowing people who don't like the EU to shake it off, surely that would work for everyone.

"It's fair to say this is a long shot, but sometimes long shots come off."

The idea of some kind of associate citizenship for UK nationals post-Brexit has been raised in the European Parliament by Liberal MEPs Charles Goerens from Luxembourg and Guy Verhofstadt, who is the leader of the parliament's Liberal bloc of MEPs. Speaking in the House of Commons in November, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, said he was open to the idea.

The online petition has attracted almost another 1,000 signatures since being handed in.