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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

EU citizens and Britons in the EU: Hold a second referendum on day of European elections (but pass t

EU citizens and Britons in the EU have written to the PM, leader of the opposition and key EU institutions to request that the withdrawal agreement be passed under the condition of a second referendum, that should take place on the day of the EU elections, on 23 May 2019:

Dear Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, Dear Donald Tusk Michel Barnier, Jean Claude Juncker, Antonio Tajani and Guy Verhofstadt,

We are a group of concerned citizens who have been fighting for our and other's rights in the event of Britain leaving the European Union since 2013 – yes, since before the referendum.

We represent organisations or volunteer with organisations based both in the UK and in the EU 27 member states.

The position of EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in Europe in the event of a leave vote should have been thought about before a referendum was even contemplated, and our rights secured before such a vote was allowed to take place.

Two and a half years on we are confronted with the cliff edge of a no deal Brexit. You may not see the cliff edge, but that is exactly the feeling that 5 million citizens in the UK and EU27 member states have had since 24 June 2016 and we continue to feel that way today.

Our rights are being taken away and yet we do not have a voice.

So before you tip us all over the edge of the cliff and into a sea of uncertainty as a result of a no deal Brexit, we have something to say.

Firstly, the Withdrawal Agreement should be voted through without delay. There is no prospect of this being changed and it is excruciating to watch these political games being played out while we continue to teeter in the wind on the precipice of a no deal.

If the Labour Party votes for the Withdrawal Agreement it will become law. We therefore appeal to Jeremy Corbyn to take this course of action but crucially only once he has secured the other measures set out below.

Secondly, a condition of voting through the Withdrawal Agreement, must be a commitment to a new referendum. Without this commitment, i.e. without legislation to secure the referendum, Labour should continue to withhold support for the Withdrawal Agreement.

Thirdly, the British Government should request a three month extension of Article 50 to 29 June 2019 in order to hold the referendum and the European Union should agree to such a request.

Fourthly, the referendum should take place on the day of the European elections, Thursday 23 May. The Electoral Commission is already preparing for the elections on that day and to add the referendum on the same day and therefore adding the referendum to the ballot papers is feasible.

There should be a straight choice between leaving the EU on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and staying in the European Union.

If Britain votes to leave, it does so on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement that will already have been passed through Parliament.

If Britain votes to stay, Article 50 is revoked, the Withdrawal Agreement falls and the MEPs elected on 23 May will take up their seats.

Read the full letter at the New Europeans website.

Britain in Europe experts have worked closely with the New Europeans organisation, contributing research analysis and public engagement activity to New Europeans' efforts to secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.

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