Bishop of Salisbury responds to a motion to regret the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

Salisbury231018On 23rd October 2019 Lord Duncan of Springbank moved a Statutory Instrument for approval entitled “Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019”. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, responded to the debate and subsequent regret motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara.

Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I support the regret amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, and echo the sorts of points that have been made already. One strength of the Church of England is that there is the Diocese in Europe and a Church of England presence in Europe that will continue beyond our membership of the European Union. The Bishop in Europe, in response to this SI, said that: “From a Brussels perspective, we are aghast that EU and EAA citizens’ rights in the UK could be restricted in this way. It surely invites reprisals on UK citizens running businesses in the EU”.

This is not just a technical issue. This is an issue about the way in which we see people who live in this community and the way in which UK citizens will be seen within the EU. If this is preparation for the theoretical possibility of a no-deal Brexit, it is profoundly unhelpful to the people directly named within it and affected by it and the way that they are viewed within their own community here in the UK. It arises, as the Minister said, because of a conflict with WTO terms for most favoured nation principles, but it also raises questions about the reliability of government in relation to the continuing status of EU/EAA citizens within the UK and, by implication, of UK citizens within the EU.

This seems to me to be a very good example of why the withdrawal Bill will need careful scrutiny regarding what might or might not be involved in our taking back control. What do the Government see as the implications of this matter and proceeding in this way on UK citizens in the EU?

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab): [extract] …The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury got it right in his contribution: while we are talking about important and possibly quite narrow legislation, this is really about trust—whether we feel we can place our trust in the Government to get this right in the wider context that we have been discussing. …


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