Pressure group urges Theresa May to let UK nationals remain EU citizens after Brexit

The European Movement UK argues it would be unprecedented for Britons to be stripped of their EU citizenship against their will

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A new campaign is urging Theresa May to allow British nationals to retain their European Union citizenship if they wish to do so after Brexit.

The European Movement UK argues it would be unprecedented for Britons to be stripped of their EU citizenship against their will.

It plans to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister asking her to make optional retention of citizenship a priority in withdrawal negotiations under Article 50 of the EU Treaties.

The move comes after Luxembourg MEP Charles Goerens tabled plans for European associate citizenship for “those who feel and wish to be part of the European project but are nationals of a former member state”.

Unless a plan of this kind is taken up, Brexit risks being the first time when a whole population of a modern state loses its citizenship without that nation being involved in armed conflict or ceasing to exist, said the European Movement.

The group's chief executive Matthew Fulton said: “Sixteen million people voted to remain citizens of the EU, and as such we're asking that this Government accepts it has a mandate to represent the wishes of those who want to remain in Europe by letting them keep their EU citizenship as a key request in the Brexit negotiations.”

And the European Movement UK's chairman, Labour MEP Richard Corbett, added: “Stripping citizenship from millions of residents against their will is unprecedented in a modern democracy.

“With the option to satisfy both those who wish to leave the EU and those who wish to retain the right to free movement on the table, we ask that Theresa May make this a priority in her negotiations when Article 50 is triggered.”

PA

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