Speaking in the Commons yesterday evening Alistair Carmichael MP demanded that the government should guarantee the rights of EU migrants in communities across the UK to be given the right to remain following the exit of Britain from the European Union.
Speaking in the House of Commons he said:
“I want to explain why this matters to me as a Liberal and an islander. Those representing island communities understand that things very often have to run to different rules and we have different priorities. One of the most important aspects of keeping an island community viable, prosperous and growing is maintaining a viable level of population. In recent years and decades the contribution of EU citizens to growing and maintaining the services and businesses within the island communities that it is my privilege to represent has been enormously important. It matters to my communities, therefore, that the position of these EU nationals who live in our communities, and who contribute to our public services and businesses, should be clarified; they should be given the greatest possible reassurance at the earliest possible opportunity.
“There is no aspect of island life these days in which we will not find EU nationals living and working. They work in our fish houses, they work in our hotels and bars, they work in our hospitals, our garages and building companies, and they teach in our schools. If we go into the admirable University of the Highlands and Islands, we will find them leading some groundbreaking research there, especially in the development of renewable energy—a future for our whole country. That is why the position of these people in our communities matters to the people I represent, and they matter to me, and they should matter to us all.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Carmichael said:
“EU migrants aren’t somethingbto be used as bargaining chips. They are human beings. They are friends, spouses, parents, who came to our country to make a better life for themselves, and in the vast majority of cases they have done so, not just for them, but for the communities in which they live too.
“It is simply outrageous that the Government are not prepared to provide certainty for these communities and individuals.”