Since June 24 and the decision of the UK people to leave the European Union, the 'Britain in Europe' think tank has consistently called upon the Government to recognise EU residence rights and offer reassurance to the three million EU citizens currently in the UK.
On the day these amendments were brought back to Parliament for a final vote, BiE wrote to all 650 MPs to stress, once again, the serious implications of not offering such reassurance, at a legal, practical and ethical level.
With the passing of the 'Brexit Bill' unamended, Parliament has given carte blanche to the Government to treat a significant part of the population as 'bargaining chips'. This is at fundamental odds with basic concepts of human decency and Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to private and family life.
Last night's vote is tantamount to subjecting the three million EU citizens in the UK – nearly 5% of its population – to the threat of deportation, a situation unheard of in a western democratic regime for as long as we can remember.
The Government has committed to making the recognition of EU residence rights an absolute priority in the ensuing negotiations. Britain in Europe experts will continue to monitor developments with this key aspect of the Brexit debate as we are moving towards these negotiations.
On behalf of 'Britain in Europe'
Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Brunel University London and Director BiE
Prof Julian Petley, Brunel University London
Prof Javaid Rehman, Brunel University London
Prof Arad Reisberg, Brunel University London