EU citizens living in the UK will not be “turfed out” if no deal is agreed with Brussels, the Brexit Secretary has said as he vowed to “move swiftly” to safeguard their future.
Dominic Raab said he was confident of reaching an agreement, but sought to reassure those living in Britain that ministers would act quickly to secure their position if the UK crashes out of EU.
Mr Raab told the BBC: “We hugely value the contribution of EU citizens here in the UK and I am confident that in the unlikely eventuality that we don’t have a deal, we will move swiftly to secure their position.”
The Cabinet minister said it was “inconceivable we would do anything other than make sure that they are legally in a position where they’re secure to stay”.
“There’s absolutely no question that we’re going to see EU citizens turfed out – we’ve made that clear in the past, I’ve made that clear in the past, I’m happy to give that reassurance again today,” he added.
His comments came after reports suggested the Government would give EU migrants living in Britain the right to remain if a “no deal” Brexit materialises.
And on Tuesday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier announced the speed of negotiations is to increase ahead of a self-imposed deadline of October to hammer out a deal.
There have been fears raised that a no-deal Brexit is becoming more likely as the deadline to agree a deal looms ever closer.
Mr Barnier, speaking alongside Mr Raab in Brussels, said it was possible for the UK and EU to find “common ground” and create “a partnership that has no precedent”.
But he said that relationship had to “respect the single market and the foundations of the European project”.
Mr Raab admitted there were still some “significant issues” to overcome, including their future trade relationship and the Northern Irish border.