Brexit fury over Labour plans to give citizenship to 4m Europeans | Politics | News

A left-wing think with close links to the Labour Party leadership is urging Sir Keir Starmer to give default British citizenship to the 3.7 million EU citizens granted settled status in the UK after Brexit.

It’s argued that the controversial policy would help assuage fears among Britons about migrants failing to contribute to the economy.

Labour Together, which has been described as “crucial to [Sir Keir Starmer’s] vision for government”, claims voters would be more likely to accept the record high levels of immigration if they became British citizens.

The think tank is recommending an American-style route for migrants to become British citizens if they’ve stayed here for a certain amount of time.

But they also want carte blanche citizenship rights for the nearly 4 million EU citizens living in Britain post-Brexit.

This would allow them to continue living, working and studying here indefinitely.

This mass citizenship programme for Europeans could then increase quickly by a further 2 million if granted to those with pre-settled statues.

With Sir Keir Starmer already on record calling for EU citizens to be allowed full voting rights in the UK, and the close links between Labour and the think tank, the Conservatives have slammed the proposals.

New deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis has told The Express that the policy demand would amount to yet another “Brexit betrayal” by the Labour leader.

Mr Gullis said: “We already know Sir Keir Starmer has called for EU national to be given full voting rights”.

“Now it seems his Labour party is preparing to go a step further with another Brexit betrayal, allowing millions of EU citizens to become UK citizens overnight.

“People will understandably fear this is part of Sir Keir’s ‘deal’ with the EU, which would see us surrender our borders to his buddies in Brussels, a hundred thousand additional illegal migrants into the UK.

“Sir Keir just can’t be trusted to back Britain’s borders.”

Fellow Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith demanded to know what is wrong with the current citizenship route offered to foreigners.

Mr Clarke-Smith said: “There’s already a route to British citizenship following settled status”.

“A ‘life in the U.K. test’ and a language test. What’s wrong with that? It’s the route being pursued in my household.

He warned that there is a “bigger scandal” around those who aren’t British citizens voting in General Elections when ex-pats’ rights aren’t being reciprocated in EU countries.

Former Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman added that the policy is “odd thinking indeed”.

He added that Labour is “dangerous”.

Labour Together, the think tank behind the policy demand, was described as “highly influential” by the Politico website, which said it is “quietly shaping the direction of the party”.

The website reported that nearly all of the MPs credited with creating Labour Together since 2017 have now entered the Shadow Cabinet, including Rachel Reeves, Wes Streeting, Shabana Mahmood, Steve Reed, Bridget Phillipson, Lucy Powell and Lisa Nandy.

Christabel Cooper, director of research at Labour Together, said: “The public is looking to the government to make sure migration is controlled”.

“While the current government focuses on divisive gimmicks like Rwanda, our new research shows policies encouraging immigrants to take British citizenship and which promote integration are popular.”

Labour was contacted for comment.

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