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Havering politicians divided over changes made to Brexit Bill

PUBLISHED: 17:30 02 March 2017

Cllr Keith Darvill, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and UKIP Cllr Lawrence Webb.

Cllr Keith Darvill, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and UKIP Cllr Lawrence Webb.

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Local politicians are divided over how to proceed with leaving the EU following amendments to Article 50 in the House of Lords.

Peers voted 358 to 256 on Wednesday night to amend the Brexit Bill to guarantee the rights of EU nationals to remain in the UK after it leaves the union.

Labour Cllr Keith Darvill, who played a major part in Havering’s remain campaign, believes it is unfair to keep EU citizens in limbo and called on the government to back the changes to the bill.

“I think the sensible approach would be for the government to accept the Lords’ amendment because conceding the rights of EU nationals sends a good message that we won’t send them back and they won’t be used as bargaining tools.

“If you include that in the opening gambit it removes that issue, it clears the air on it.”

However Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, criticised the Lords’ changes as he says the government has been clear on the issue of EU nationals in the UK whilst the EU members have refused to discuss it before article 50 is invoked.

“To amend article 50 is the wrong thing to do at this stage, you’ve got to let government get on with it and start negotiations.

“It is the EU and European countries being ridiculous by not having a sensible arrangement – the uncertainty can be resolved before opening negotiations.”

Ukip’s Cllr Lawrence Webb, on the other hand, was far more scathing in his verdict of the Lords’ actions and believes a valuable bargaining chip has now been wasted.

“The point is that it can’t be decided by the EU anyway, it’s down to individual states to decide. It’s a negotiation tool that could have been used in the process that has been given away. If you want to get the best deal you have to play hard ball.”

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