The government's plan to register citizens from the EU may be illegal and could be blocked by European parliament, a group of MEPs have claimed.
In a letter to home secretary Amber Rudd, a group of cross-party MEPs argue that the plan to register some individuals from the start of the so-called implementation period could fall foul of EU law - which Theresa May has acknowledged the UK would still come under during the period.
The MEPs – Sophie in ’t Veld, Seb Dance, Jean Lambert, Beatriz Becerra, Cecilia Wikström and Catherine Bearder – wrote: “Is the Home Office suggesting that only non-UK EU citizens needs to register? Article 26 of the freedom of movement directive makes it very clear that residency cards are for everyone, or no one.
“We find it extremely troubling for the home secretary of a member state currently complying with EU laws to make such a statement.”
“We also heard you say during the committee hearing that those EU citizens who fail criminal records checks may be rejected," the letter continues. “Article 7 of the freedom of movement directive clearly states the necessary areas of compliance for an EU citizen to reside in a member state and criminality is not one of them.”
Last week, the Prime Minister published an open letter to the three million EU citizens currently living in the UK, saying they would not be used as "bargaining chips" and claiming the two sides were in "touching distance" of a deal.