On Tuesday 4 July at 5.30pm, the House of Lords debates the European Union Committee's report, 'Brexit: acquired rights'
On 14 December 2016, the House of Lords Justice Sub-Committee published a report on Brexit: acquired rights. The report concluded that:
- The Sub-Committee agreed "strongly" with the unanimous view of the witnesses that in order to provide legal certainty "the withdrawal agreement concluded under Article 50 should set out the EU rights that are to be maintained post-Brexit";
- In the event that the UK left without a withdrawal agreement the Committee argued that the "most effective safeguard for maintaining the citizenship rights of EU nationals in the UK will be national law". To that end, the report called on the Government to use its promised Great Repeal Bill to ensure that the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, which implements in the UK the EU Citizens Directive 2004/38, "will remain in force unchanged on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, with or without a withdrawal agreement";
- Yet at the same time the report emphasised the Committee’s view that the Government was "under a moral obligation to provide certainty and legal clarity to all EU nationals working, living and studying in the UK, who contribute so significantly to the economic and cultural life of the UK" (paragraph 147). The report therefore urged the Government, as a first step towards concluding a reciprocal agreement, to give "a unilateral guarantee now that it will safeguard the EU citizenship rights of all EU nationals in the UK when the UK withdraws from the EU";
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Chairman of the EU Justice Sub-Committee will open the debate on the report.