Can we make it 10,000 for EU citizenship?

Over 9,000 people have now signed the petition to the Prime Minister, calling on her to negotiate opt-in EU citizenship for pro-European Brits, should Brexit go ahead.

Can we make it 10,000?

Click HERE to add your name.

Thanks for the support!

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20,000 back our EU citizenship campaign

20,000 people have now given their support to our campaign for pro-European Brits to keep their EU citizenship, if Brexit ends up going ahead. Here’s the link to add your name.

Brexit might not happen, of course. If the British people change their minds before we leave, it would be bizarre and anti-democratic for them not to be free to do so.

But Brexit might happen, so we need to think about what our Plan B should be. And we believe that that means convincing the EU to be generous enough to let us stay part of their great project even if the UK departs.

Since we set up this blog back in mid-October to pitch the idea of individual opt-in EU citizenship for pro-EU Brits post-Brexit (HERE is he original post), the idea has been proposed in the European Parliament by Luxembourg Liberal MEP Charles Goerens and championed too by Belgian MEP and leader of the Liberal group of MEPs Guy Verhofstadt.

We have written about the idea too, like HERE in The New European.

We recognise that we’re asking a big favour. We realise too that full citizenship may be too big an ask, so it might be some kind of associate citizenship, or some other new kind of idea. We realise too that we would almost certainly have to pay an individual fee for it. But we still want in.

If you support this idea, please add your name to the 20,000 who have so far backed us. You can add your name HERE.

The European Parliament has inserted into their Brexit negotiating position that there should be some solution for pro-EU Brits who face being abandoned in Brexit Britain. And MEPs have real power in this; they have to okay any exit deal for it to go ahead.

This, or something close to it, could happen. So, please, if you want to keep your EU citizenship should Brexit really happen then sign up to support our efforts, and you can do that by clicking HERE.

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Over 4,000 have signed Guy Verhofstadt letter so far. Why not add your name too?

Over 4,000 people have added their names to our open letter to Guy Verhofstadt, the Liberal MEP and the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator. Any exit deal between the EU and the UK will need to be approved by MEPs in the European Parliament.

Our letter, which we’d love you to sign, supports Mr Verhofstadt’s plan for pro-EU Brits to be offered some kind of opt-in individual associate citizenship of the EU, if the UK ends up leaving the European Union. You can read a recent report about the idea HERE.

Here’s the text:

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

This letter to you is signed by [insert final number] people.

We wanted to write to thank you for your efforts to allow UK nationals who value their EU citizenship to retain it, or a form of it, post-Brexit. We value not only the freedoms and opportunities it gives us, but also that it makes us a part of the most successful peace project in history.

Theresa May does not speak for us. She has made no attempt to reach out to, or in any way represent, us or any of the 16 million people who voted Remain on 23rd June last year. Indeed, you speak for us far better and more eloquently than she ever has.

We wish you every success in your attempt to get this idea on the agenda of the Brexit talks and into the final deal. We back you 100%.

Of course, we also want an equally generous settlement for other EU nationals too.

Thank you for everything that you are doing, and good luck!

Yours sincerely

To add your name to our open letter to Guy Verhofstadt, just click HERE. Thank you.

UPDATE: we have now sent the letter, so we cannot accept any more signatures to it – BUT you can still sign up to support our campaign for continuing EU citizenship for pro-EU Brits post-Brexit. Find out about that, and find the link to sign up HERE.

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Will you join us in signing this letter to Guy Verhofstadt?

Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt is the European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator. Any Brexit deal will require the approval of the European Parliament – without it, the deal will fall.

Mr Verhofstadt backs the idea of giving British people the right to opt in to some kind of associate EU citizenship if Brexit happens. Here’s a link to one report about what he’s said.

With the negotiations about to start, we are going to send Mr Verhofstadt a letter, and we’re inviting you to join us in signing it. The text is below; please read it, and if you want to sign it too then click HERE to add your name.

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

This letter to you is signed by [insert final number] people.

We wanted to write to thank you for your efforts to allow UK nationals who value their EU citizenship to retain it, or a form of it, post-Brexit. We value not only the freedoms and opportunities it gives us, but also that it makes us a part of the most successful peace project in history.

Theresa May does not speak for us. She has made no attempt to reach out to, or in any way represent, us or any of the 16 million people who voted Remain on 23rd June last year. Indeed, you speak for us far better and more eloquently than she ever has.

We wish you every success in your attempt to get this idea on the agenda of the Brexit talks and into the final deal. We back you 100%.

Of course, we also want an equally generous settlement for other EU nationals too.

Thank you for everything that you are doing, and good luck!

Yours sincerely

If you like the letter and want to add your name, click here to be taken to the page where you can do exactly that. Thank you!

UPDATE: we’ve now sent the letter to Mr Verhofstadt, so you cannot any longer sign it – BUT you can still sign up to support the campaign; find out about that HERE.

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Decision time for the Brexit bill: what you can do to help EU nationals and give Parliament a meaningful say

The Brexit bill is fast approaching its crunch point in Parliament. On Monday, MPs will vote on the two amendments to it that the House of Lords passed recently.

One amendment requires the Government to take action to secure the rights of EU nationals living here in the UK; the other requires the Government to obtain the approval of Parliament for any Brexit deal it wants to sign, as well as requiring Parliament’s permission should it want to walk away from the talks.

The bill will now pass; both Houses have voted for it. The question that remains is whether both, one or neither of these amendments ends up being written into law.

So, what can we, as citizens, do to help the passage of these two amendments?

First: you can lobby your MP. I know you may well have done this already, but please do it again, and quickly – MPs will debate and vote on these amendments on Monday, 13th March. Write again even if you have written to your MP a dozen times already. Write again even if your MP has already told you that they are a total, 100% Leaver. Actually, time so short – please email them.

Use the parliamentary website. Go HERE, input your postcode, the name of your MP or constituency, and the system will find the MP’s contact details for you. Click on their email address and away you go. Or, even better, call them; most MPs publish their telephone number – speak to them or leave a message.

And what you should say is simple. Tell them you are one of their constituents – that’s important – and that you want them to vote in favour of the two Lords amendments to the Brexit bill, or the “European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill” to give it its proper name.

Why? Because the UK Government should do the decent thing and guarantee the rights of EU nationals already here. It is inconceivable that we would deport them, so let’s just do the right thing. It is just as inconceivable that the rest of the EU would deport millions of Brits. Let’s stop playing silly games, and give these people the reassurance they are desperate for, and which frankly they deserve.

On the other amendment, you could ask what’s so wrong about giving Parliament the final say on any Brexit deal? Didn’t the Leave campaign fight the referendum arguing for a return of power to the British Parliament? So, let’s do that. Giving Parliament a say in 18 months’ time, or thereabouts, is especially important when nobody can know what the deal will look like then. We will need to negotiate with 27 other national governments, each with things they want included. And with upcoming elections in the Netherlands, Germany and France, we don’t even know with whom we will be negotiating. Our representatives in Parliament must decide on the deal when the full shape of it is known, which it is not right now.

Those are the arguments we would suggest, but feel free to make your own. The more personal the communication, the better. And be sure to ask for a reply.

Second: you can lobby one or more of a key group of 86 members of the Lords. We know that the bill has just left the Lords, but if MPs reject either or both amendments on Monday then they go back to the Lords. At this point, peers have to decide whether or not to back down. The constitutional job of the Lords is sometimes to make the Commons pause and think again, so many peers may decide at that point that they have done that and they should now let the elected House have its way. Our job is to encourage them to stand firm and send the amendments back yet again to the Commons.

We list below the 86 peers we’d like you to contact – as many as you like, but even just one would be great. We have linked each of their names to their profile page on the parliamentary website. On that page you will find their email address, click on it and send your message. Just click on any of the names below and email them.

Why these 86 Lords? We went through the voting lists for the two amendments, and we picked out those who voted in favour of both of them. We calculated that these are the most committed peers; the ones most likely to be on our side. We then excluded all those who voted to kill the bill at its last stage in the Lords; we calculated that this hard core of 95 peers are already determined enough to stand their ground. Then we went through and excluded all those who do not give a personal email address on the parliamentary website.

We are left with 86 peers who are supportive, but not so committed that they were willing to vote to stop the bill outright. They are also peers whom we can email directly. We think that these are the peers whom we need to encourage to stand firm against any rejection of the amendments by the Commons. So, if you choose to contact one or more of them, please do thank them – remember, these are peers who decided to vote for both these amendments, despite the Government trying to bully them. And encourage them to stand by the amendments if they are rejected by MPs.

As always, for both MPs and peers, be polite. Make your email as short as possible; they will be getting a lot of emails and if yours is too long they may well skip over it. And we’d encourage you not to try to argue against the whole bill or refight the referendum; focus on these two amendments and why you think they should pass. And, again, for the peers, say thanks for what they have done already.

Okay, here’s that long list of peers; just click on any name.

Lord Aberdare, Lord Allen of Kensington, Baroness Altmann, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Lord Anderson of Swansea, Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, Lord Beecham, Baroness Benjamin, Lord Best, Lord Bhatia, Baroness Billingham, Baroness Blackstone, Lord Bradley, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, Lord Cashman, Lord Clark of Windermere, Lord Collins of Highbury, Viscount Colville of Culross, Lord Condon, Baroness Corston, Baroness Coussins, Lord Davies of Oldham, Baroness Donaghy, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Lord Freyberg, Lord Goddard of Stockport, Baroness Golding, Lord Goldsmith, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, Lord Grabiner, Lord Grantchester, Baroness Greengross, Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, Lord Grocott, Lord Hain, Viscount Hanworth, Lord Harrison, Lord Haworth, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill, Baroness Henig, Lord Hollick, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, Baroness Howells of St Davids, Lord Hughes of Woodside, Lord Jay of Ewelme, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, Lord Kinnock, Lord Knight of Weymouth, Lord Levene of Portsoken, Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, Lord Lipsey, Baroness Lister of Burtersett, Baroness McDonagh, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall, Lord MacKenzie of Culkein, Baroness Massey of Darwen, Baroness Meacher, Lord Monks, Lord Morris of Aberavon, Lord Morris of Handsworth, Baroness Morris of Yardley, Baroness Neuberger, Lord Ouseley, Lord Patel of Bradford, Lord Pendry, Baroness Pitkeathley, Baroness Prosser, Baroness Quin, Lord Rooker, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Earl of Sandwich, Baroness Sherlock, Baroness Smith of Newnham, Lord Soley, Lord Steel of Aikwood, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Lord Touhig, Lord Triesman, Lord West of Spithead, Lord Whitty, Lord Williams of Elvel, Lord Wood of Anfield, Baroness Young of Hornsey, and Baroness Young of Old Scone.

Let us know how it goes!

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Thank the Lords and lobby an MP on EU nationals amendment

It was fantastic to see the House of Lords amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on Wednesday evening in an attempt to secure the rights of EU nationals living here in the UK. But what next?

Amendment 9b to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, passed by peers

The Lords cannot unilaterally amend bills, so once the bill has completed all its Lords stages (this happens next week) it will return to the Commons for MPs to decide if they agree. If they accept the amendment, it will then appear in law; if they disagree, the amendment will return to the Lords for them to decide whether to stick with their amendment… if this continues still further it will enter what’s called parliamentary ping-pong, as the bill bounces back & forth between the Houses.

What can you do now if you want the amendment to stand? I’m suggesting you do two things:

Write to say thanks to one or more of the 358 peers who voted to pass this amendment. You can find the list of who voted for and against the amendment online HERE. The list called “Content” is those who voted for the amendment; the list called “Not Content” is those who voted against it. You can find contact details for all peers online HERE.

This is a nice thing to do, but it also emphasises to these peers the level of support for the measurement. That might be helpful if MPs throw it out and peers have to decide whether to try to insist on it.

Write to your MP. You can use the website or Parliament’s website. If you are not sure who your local MP is, both websites can will work that out for you based on your postcode. Tell your MP that you want them to vote for the amendment passed by the Lords on the rights of EU nationals.

Your letter does not need to be long. Indeed, short is good. But be clear, polite and assertive – and email it or get it into the post today.

The bill returns to the Lords next week, and many are speculating that peers will pass one further amendment. This would require, in law, that Parliament gets a meaningful vote on the outcome of the exit talks, and potentially require the Government to obtain the permission of Parliament to walk away from the talks empty-handed. But we can worry about lobbying MPs on that amendment if/when it passes. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot on the amendment that has certainly passed.

Thank a Lord & lobby an MP today.

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Time again to lobby Lords as they flex muscles over Brexit bill

Last week saw the biggest debate on a parliamentary bill in the House of Lords on record. 184 peers spoke – the most ever – spread over two days: only the 28th time that has happened since the end of the War almost three-quarters of a century ago.

This week, the Government’s Brexit bill returns to the Lords and that means we have another big opportunity to lobby them. This post sets out what’s happening & what you can do.

We are thankfully starting to see the Lords flex their muscles. Take Lord Heseltine. He has an article in today’s Mail on Sunday explaining why he will vote to amend the ‘European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill’ (to use its formal name). He wants it written into the law that the Government has to return to Parliament to get the OK for any deal, or indeed for permission to walk away without a deal. After all, this is meant to be all about parliamentary sovereignty, right?

Peers like Lib Dem Lords leader Dick Newby and Labour Lords leader Angela Smith are also both confident that the Lords will amend the bill to include protections for people living in the UK who are nationals of other EU Member States.

These amendments are very welcome. I am going to be contacting peers to urge them to support these proposals, and I hope you will too.

On Monday and Wednesday this week (27th February and 1st March), the bill returns for its committee stage & then it will go through its final stages on Tuesday week, the 7th of March. After that, if the Lords has amended the bill, it goes back to the Commons for them to vote on any Lords amendments. And there are reportedly “up to 20 rebel Conservative MPs” who would back the Lords change.

What I want to suggest is that we email the independent ‘Crossbench’ peers. These are members of the House of Lords who are not aligned to any party. There is a list of them on the Lords website.

Click on a name from that list for more information about a particular peer; some will include an email address. As it’s an alphabetical list, I’d suggest you pick one, two or more in a random fashion, rather than just starting at the top. If everyone just starts at the top of the list then Lords Aberdare and Adebowale may get rather more emails than Baronesses Wolf of Dulwich and Young of Hornsey.

I am not going to give a template email text because politicians can see them a mile off and they have much less impact than something that comes personally from the individual writing to them.

I’d suggest you write from the heart, especially if you are an EU national living in the UK and you fear what might happen to you – tell them about that, write in simple, plain language about you personally and your circumstances. Don’t make your email too long as they will be getting loads; make it an easy decision for them to read it. Also, make your message & your stance really clear in the email subject line; that way, even if they don’t read it or even open it, they will get a flavour of what you have to say. And, of course, be polite.

Amendments can be made this week, or potentially when it comes back to the Lords yet again on 7th March, so keep going. Peers like Lord Teverson have said they have had “an avalanche” letters and emails about the bill, so it is getting through.

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How to lobby the Lords on the Brexit bill

You know how to lobby on something going through the House of Commons, right? You write to your MP. But how do you do that for the House of Lords? After all, you have a named MP who represents you and your local area in the Commons, but peers don’t have constituencies – and there are over 800 of them!

And lobbying the Lords matters because MPs (well, 494 of them) have just given the green light to the “European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill”. That’s the law that gives the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50, kick-starting Britain’s exit from the EU. Having passed the Commons, the bill must now pass through the Lords.

So, how do you lobby the Lords?

Well, we have two ideas about how you can do it. But first, let us emphasise how important it is to lobby members of the House of Lords. No party has a majority there. The largest party – the Conservatives – has fewer than one in three of the seats. Around one in four seats (200 or so) are held by Crossbench or non-affiliated peers, meaning they don’t belong to any party group. In essence, the bill can’t easily be whipped through unamended like it was in the Commons.

The first way to lobby a peer is by using the excellent website. This is the site where you just need to input your postcode and you can easily email your MP and all the other people you help elect.

But there is also part of the site that facilitates writing to members of the House of Lords. Here’s the link: We suggest scrolling down and clicking on the button, “Get a Random Lord”. That takes you to a page where you can write your message to a randomly-selected peer.

And what’s good about the Lords is that whilst you can only write to your sole local MP, if you are especially enthusiastic you can send messages to several randomly-selected peers. Just keep clicking on the button, although it does limit you to sending messages to up to six peers per day.

Oh, and by the way, why not consider donating to mySociety, the people behind The option to donate is on each page of the site. They provide a great service, free to use.

The other idea we have is to use the list of peers who have already put down their names to speak. The Government Whips’ Office in the House of Lords maintains a list of peers who want to speak in any debate. If you go to and scroll down to the debate on Monday 20 February you should see the list (currently standing at 166 peers) of those who want to speak in the debate on the Brexit bill. Why not send a message to some of them? You can find the contact details of individual peers at

Some peers do not provide their direct email address on that system, preferably to use You can use that to email those peers, but only to a maximum of six per day. Emailing a peer who has shared their personal email address is probably a better bet as it shows they are open to receiving messages from the public.

One other thing though – if everyone starts with the names at the top of that list of 166 peers then the ones further down the list won’t hear from anyone. Pick someone at random from the list and contact them.

We are not going to give a model or template letter or email text because politicians can see them a mile off and they have much less impact than something that comes personally from the individual writing to them.

Our advice would first & foremost to be polite and not to write something too long; they will be getting a lot of correspondence on this, and simplicity and brevity are your friend. If you want them to vote down the bill, tell them. If you want them to vote in favour of amendments that will keep us in the Single Market, that will maintain free movement, that will protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK or UK nationals living in the EU post-Brexit, or amendments that commit the Government to honour the £350m per week extra for the NHS pledge made by the Leave campaign during the referendum campaign, tell them.

If you have any personal experience that’s relevant to your point – maybe you are an EU national worried about your right to stay in Britain, or a young person studying a foreign language at university who fears that their right to live and work in the EU country of your choice is going to be snatched away – put it in there. Highlighting the real world consequences on people’s lives of what’s happening will always have an impact.

We have been pushing for UK nationals to be given the freedom to opt in to some kind of citizenship or associate citizenship of the European Union, should Brexit go ahead. If you support that, and want the Government to be open to it, tell them about it and ask for their support. Ask them to raise it as an issue on the floor of the House of Lords, to ask ministers about it.

If you think about it, it’s easy to write your own unique letter to a peer. It’s not quite as easy as copying & pasting what someone else has written, but – believe me – it is worth the effort.

Feel free to share your messages in the comments section if you would like, and indeed the replies you get. Let’s see if we can have more luck with the Lords than we did with the Commons.

Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

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We’re writing to Guy Verhofstadt. Want to sign our letter too?

We’ve drafted a letter (below) that we’re going to be sending to Guy Verhofstadt, the Liberal MEP who will be the European Parliament’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks.

Mr Verhofstadt has made it clear that he will ensure the idea of associate EU citizenship for Brits will be on the negotiating table. You can read about it in this article from the Independent.

Would you like to sign the letter too? If you do, click on this link and leave your details. Do it before the end of Wednesday 14th December (by which we mean 11.59pm) and we’ll add your details before we pop it into the post on Thursday. Please don’t leave your details as a comment. To make sure we have your consent, we will only use the name of people who apply using the link. Here’s that link again. Thank you.

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

I am writing to thank you for speaking up for the 48% of people who voted ‘Remain’ in the UK’s referendum on our European Union membership. Since 23rd June, our voices have been ignored by a government that is just not listening.

We were asked whether we wanted to remain EU citizens. Over 16 million of us said that we did. But we are all set to be stripped of that status nonetheless.

It is this impending loss of our EU citizenship that many of us feel so deeply. We will lose, at a stroke, the right to travel, live, study, work, retire, and set up a business with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss and bother in any of 27 other EU member states. But it is more than that. Many of us feel European – right down into our bones. We will feel this loss very strongly indeed.

It is fantastic therefore that you have now placed on the negotiating table the idea of offering pro-European Brits continuing associate EU citizenship. In recent days, even those who want to leave have conceded that this should be something they accept – as it would not stop Brexit and it would be entirely voluntary, meaning those who do not wish to take part do not have to do so. Reportedly, Number 10 is also potentially open to it.

I say thanks also to your Liberal colleague, Charles Goerens, whose amendment was instrumental in getting this onto the agenda in Brussels.

I do hope that this is an idea that can make progress, and thank you for your efforts to ensure that the voices of over 16 million pro-Europeans are heard in these negotiations.

Yours sincerely

UPDATE: we sent the letter, thanks for the 1,000+ people who signed it. If you want to support our campaign, you can still add your name to the 20,000 who have signed up so far. Full details HERE. Thanks!

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25% off great new #Brexit book

I’ve just finished reading this great book about Brexit by a journalist called Ian Dunt, who’s the editor of And I’ve got a discount code for it that’ll save you 25% off the cover price.

The book, called “Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?”, comes recommended by Green MP Caroline Lucas. Journalist Nick Cohen calls it “admirably brief and necessarily brutal… Highly recommended.” I found it so compelling that I read it in one go.

To get your 25% off, go to THIS page. When you get to the payment bit, type in the coupon/discount code: PASSPORT

For every copy sold, the publishers will also donate £1 to this campaign. We’ve got plans for 2017, and this will help us a lot (without costing you an extra penny!).

This offer is limited to 200 orders and the code is valid until 15th December. Thank you!

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