Keir Starmer has been urged to be more vocal on EU citizens’ rights as the settlement scheme deadline approaches.
The 30 June cut-off date has prompted over 400 Labour activists to write to the Labour Leader and ask him to speak out and help millions of EU citizens living in the UK.
Activists think the party has been very quiet on the EU Settled Status, and labelled the silence as “inexcusable”, according to The Guardian.
And they say Labour “has not said or done enough” about the situation.
At the ‘mercy’ of the Home Office
There are also fears that Labour could be seen as being too much in favour of remaining in the European Union and backing immigrants by some working-class voters. This “red wallism” may justify Labour’s silence, activists said.
Signees of the letter include Michael Chessum, organiser of pro-European party Another Europe is Possible, Laura Parker, a strong supporter of Starmer’s leadership and Gaya Sriskanthan, co-chair of Momentum (a movement aiming to change Labour).
Their stark warning comes as tens of thousands of EU citizens could find themselves at the ‘mercy’ of the Home Office – and they also warn millions with pre-settled status, which is only temporary, could become victims of the government’s hostile environment.
The letter urges the UK government to scrap the 30 June deadline.
It reads: “The existence of the settled status application process is itself a betrayal of the promises that leave campaigners made during the EU referendum.
“Again and again, European citizens were told that their right to stay would be automatic. Instead, more than five million people are being forced through a dysfunctional system. Soon, they will be brought under the regime of an increasingly digitised and aggressive hostile environment.”
Labour denied the accusations that it is not taking action and said it was urging ministers to extend the EU settlement scheme until the end of September.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow home secretary, said: “The government has been warned that vulnerable individuals, children in care, and care leavers could fall through the cracks when it comes to applying to the settlement scheme with the deadline fast approaching.
“The UK government has not done enough to prevent that from happening and it is only right that a short extension to the end of September be applied to make sure that the Home Office can do everything in their power to get all those eligible signed up.
“We cannot have a repeat of the Windrush scandal, which also affected wholly innocent people in such a terrible way. The Home Office must learn from its past mistakes.”