Brexit: Tory MP says EU nationals are ‘talking up’ fears over right to remain in the UK

Theresa May will be forced to order MPs to throw out an immediate guarantee that three million Europeans can stay in Britain after a humiliating defeat in the House of Lords

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Conservative MP Peter Bone has suggested panic among EU nationals living in the UK about their fate after Brexit is being “talked up”.

Speaking after the Government suffered a defeat in the Lords over safeguards for European citizens residing in Britain, Mr Bone sought to downplay fears among EU nationals about their residency status once Britain quits the bloc. 

“It is only people who are talking up the problem that are actually causing the anxiety,” he said.

The Tory backbencher made the comments on BBC Newsnight, where he appeared alongside Nicholas Hatton of the 3 Million group, which represents Europeans living in the UK. 

When Mr Hatton explained his apprehension about the impact of Brexit on his right to remain in the country, Mr Bone responded: “I am here to reassure you, my next door neighbours are Polish. 

“The vast majority of people in this country who are from the EU know that they are safe.”

However, his claims appeared to contradict many EU citizens living in the UK who have voiced fears about their future after ties with Brussels are severed. 

European migrants with British children have spoken about their concerns that families will be torn apart by Brexit if the automatic right to remain in the country is withdrawn.

Panic spread this week after a briefing paper was circulated that suggested the Home Office was able to remove people from the country if they did not have comprehensive sickness insurance.

Sylvia Gawron, a Polish national studying in the UK, told The Independent: “I feel like EU citizens are now treated as a second class citizens   – nobody cares about our rights, our families and those who depend on us. We have been left in limbo wondering what is going to happen to our futures here.”

The Government’s immigration stance has been under the spotlight in recent weeks after a string of high–profile incidents involving deportations, both threatened and carried out.

In December, a Dutch woman who had lived in Britain for more than two decades was instructed to prepare to be deported after her application for UK citizenship was rejected. 

Government suffers defeat in Lords over plan to begin Brexit negotiations

Monique Hawkins, who has two children and a British husband, said she was left "in limbo" after the surprise refusal from the Home Office.

And earlier this week a woman who had lived in the UK for nearly 30 years with her British husband was deported to Singapore.

Irene Clennell, 53, says she was forced to board a plane without warning on Sunday, after being held for nearly a month in an immigration detention centre in Scotland. 

She had been living near Durham with her husband. She has two British sons, as well as a granddaughter, in the UK.