The latest on voting rights in English 2021 local elections confirmed, Priti Patel confuses Settled Status and Citizenship, and the new immigration rules starting next January.


First published in July 2020.


I have one good piece of news if you live in England: this week, we found out EU citizens in England would retain their voting rights in 2021 for the local and mayoral elections. We welcome this news gladly, knowing that EU citizens will also be able to stand in these elections. Having said that, there is no guarantee this will extend beyond 2021 and our local voting rights remain a worry.

The Celtic nations (Scotland and Wales) have already shown the way by permanently granting voting rights to all residents (thus including EU citizens) through legislation. the3million keep fighting to have similar protection for those of us living in England and Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday, we also saw Priti Patel getting very confused about Settled Status and EU citizens. She was being interviewed by the Home Affairs Select Committee, whose mission is to scrutinise her work as Home Secretary.

When asked about the Settled Status scheme, she said 3.4 million EU citizens had been granted citizenship. See the video below:

The truth is 3.4 million applications have resulted in either Pre-Settled or Settled Status. We don’t know how many people that represents, because anyone applying first for Pre-Settled Status and later for Settled Status is double-counted.

And of course, the mistake of saying all these people were granted British citizenship would be funny if it were not so tragic. Especially in the light of citizenship applications which may now be at risk for not having had private health insurance in the past. See our campaign #ByeByeCSI on this matter.

Talking of the Home Office, many people expressed anger on social media when they published on Monday the new immigration rules starting in January 2021. The new rules show the threshold for deporting EU citizens will be lowered for behaviour after the end of the transition period, as negotiated in the Withdrawal Agreement.

This brings EU citizens in line with the deportation regime all our non-EU fellow citizens in the UK have been facing for years – a system that expels people, separating them from their family, and returning them to a country they may never have lived in.

EU citizens will be deported for minor offences under Priti Patel’s post-Brexit immigration crackdown, lawyer warns. / The Independent

Immigration barrister Colin Yeo commented he expected “the number of EU citizens to be deported to increase substantially from January 2021 onwards”. The Home Office has clearly not learnt its lesson from Windrush and we will monitor the situation closely to see how and if the recommendations of the Wendy Williams' Windrush report are implemented as promised.

Which leads me to the Reunite Families UK letter to Boris Johnson. the3million is proud to be a signatory, and you can sign too as an individual by clicking here.

Sign the Open Letter to Boris Johnson now!

In the letter, we ask Boris Johnson to remove the minimum income threshold for a British parent to bring a non-EU spouse so families can stay together, no matter what. This rule will also severely affect our British friends in the EU, despite being covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, if they were to return to the UK with non-British family members.🔷


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[This piece was originally published in the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 17 July 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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