Davis: We will fight EU plans restricting residents' rights for UK nationals

Catherine Neilan
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Barnier and Davis: Not on the same page (Source: Getty)

EU negotiators plan to restrict expats' voting rights and only allow UK nationals the right to remain in the country they're living in at the point of Brexit, David Davis has revealed. 

Writing to the Lords EU select committee following his recent appearance the Brexit secretary said his negotiating team pushed back against these positions during the July talks, and would continue to do so until an agreement had been reached. 

On the right to vote in European elections, Davis said his team "made it clear that we stand ready to protect the rights of EU nationals living in the UK to stand and vote in municipal elections". 

When it came to restricting residence rights, the team had "questioned whether this is consistent with the principle of reciprocity, and also with the commission’s desire to protect rights currently enjoyed under EU law".

Davis also said the UK was prepared to go "further in some respects than the requirements of the free movement directive" in areas such as students who had been absent for longer than two years at the point of our exit. The EU has not as yet been able to commit to matching those proposals".

Davis' letter comes just weeks after the first round of formal talks took place, during which the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there had been a "fundamental divergence" between the two sides. 

Downing Street has since confirmed that freedom of movement will cease from March 2019.

The next round of talks, which will take place later this month, will focus on mutual recognition of professional qualifications and economic rights, as well as looking into social security.  

Last night, Davis' former chief of staff James Chapman called on "sensible MPs in all parties to admit Brexit is a catastrophe", urging them to create a new centrist party "if need be and reverse it".

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