The SNP has said Theresa May is risking the Brexit timetable and the deadline for a Brexit deal in a year’s time, following a lack of progress from the UK Government.
October 2018 is the deadline for the UK to reach a deal on leaving the European Union, as agreed by the UK government and Michele Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit.
It follows comments from EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who said it would take a “miracle” for Brexit talks to progress quickly enough to persuade the EU to start discussing trade soon.
As the Conservative conference continues, SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Stephen Gethins has criticised the lack of progress by the Prime Minister’s in the 15 months since the EU referendum, particularly the lack of certainty for EU nationals living in the UK.
The TUC and CBI have warned that guaranteeing EU citizens rights is important for the UK’s economy and public services, with EU citizens accounting for 10 per cent of registered doctors and 4 per cent of registered nurses across the UK, and millions more working across the private and public sectors.
Last month, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that net migration of EU citizens fell 51,000 in the year to March 2017, as a result of a surge in EU nationals leaving the UK, and fewer coming to live and work in the UK, following the EU referendum. While key industries, including the UK food and drink industry, have warned a shortage in EU workers could make their businesses unviable.
Stephen Gethins MP said:
“With just a year to go, Theresa May risks missing the Brexit deadline, given the slow progress we have seen since the EU referendum. It can’t help that her Cabinet are not united on the issue, and her colleagues seem more interested in her job than getting a fair deal for the UK.
“As a priority, the UK government must urgently guarantee the rights of the three million EU nationals living and working in the UK – our economy and public services depend on their vital contribution, and we cannot afford to lose them.
“Failing to provide a guarantee would be a reckless act of self-sabotage that could lead to an exodus of workers and an acute labour shortage – threatening the viability of our businesses, damaging our public services, and leaving the whole country poorer and worse off.
“Tory ministers have now had more than 15 months since the EU referendum to provide a guarantee, and it is utterly unacceptable that EU nationals are still facing such uncertainty – damaging their lives, and making the UK a less attractive place to live and work.”
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