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Call for EU citizens to be given automatic right to stay

By Alan Hendry

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Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone has backed a call by his party for European Union citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK.

It comes as new official figures show that 2410 EU nationals living in the Highlands have not been granted permanent settled status to remain in the UK.

Mr Stone, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, pointed to the contribution of EU nationals working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis and urged the UK Government to “repay the kindness” of such workers.

“Too many EU nationals in the Highlands are deeply anxious about their right to stay," he said. "With the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this.

“We continue to rely on the kindness of so many EU nationals who are often fighting coronavirus on the front line. It is a disgrace that the Tories refuse to return that same kindness by granting indefinite leave to remain. I will continue to fight this battle with the help of my Liberal Democrat colleagues in parliament.”

With the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said: “The Government has a chance to show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."

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