Threat to deport EU citizens another disgraceful broken Brexit promise - People's Vote

Threat to deport EU citizens another disgraceful broken Brexit promise

Government minister Brandon Lewis has suggested EU citizens who miss the deadline to apply for the new ‘Settled Status’ scheme could be deported from the UK.

In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Lewis said these people risked being deported if they failed to apply by the end of 2020, saying: “If EU citizens have not registered by then without an adequate justification, the immigration rules will apply.”

This is the latest example of a broken Brexit promise – Leave campaigners assured EU citizens their rights to live and work in the UK would not change if the UK voted to leave the EU.

The People’s Vote campaign has compiled 5 examples of Leave campaigners promising EU citizens their rights wouldn’t change after Brexit: 


  1. On June 1 2016, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Gisela Stuart signed a joint statement stating that, in the case of a vote to leave the EU: “[T]here will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present.”
  2. Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP and one of the founders of Vote Leave, said on March 3 2016: “It's irresponsible to scare EU nationals in the UK by hinting that their status might change after Brexit. No one's suggesting such a thing.”
  3. In a column for The Telegraph written immediately after the referendum, on June 26 2016, Boris Johnson wrote: “EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.”
  4. On July 6 2016, Boris Johnson voted in favour of a motion calling on the Government to protect the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK and speaking in Parliament in support of the motion, he said: “[T]he Vote Leave campaign gave exactly this reassurance to people living and working here, and it is very disappointing this should be called into question…It is absolutely right to issue the strongest possible reassurance to EU nationals in this country, not just for moral or humanitarian reasons but for very strong economic reasons too…They are welcome, they are necessary, and they are a crucial part of our society and I will be passionately supporting this motion tonight.”
  5. On April 27 2017, David Davis, at the time the Brexit Secretary, said: “What that is about is a reflection of what is on the Home Office website, which essentially points out that EU citizens do not need to apply for their rights to be underpinned. That is the approach we are taking. The hon. and learned Gentleman should bear in mind that for the next two years, irrespective of anything that the Government do, all the existing rights and privileges continue to apply. There will be no change in that respect. Before we come to the point of exit from the European Union, we will have made that very clear in primary legislation.”


David Lammy MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:

“The way the Government has treated EU citizens since the Brexit vote in 2016 is nothing short of a disgrace. First, Leave campaigners promised them their status wouldn’t change even if we left the EU, then they were told they now had to pay to apply just to maintain their current rights to live and work in the UK. It’s yet another broken Brexit promise to add to the ever-growing list.

“EU citizens work and contribute to our country, including in public services like the NHS. They are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues and in many cases our families. For them to now be told they might be kicked out of the country is utterly appalling.

“With so many of the promises made about Brexit now being broken, the only way to solve this crisis now is to give the public the final say. That’s why huge numbers of people, including many EU citizens, will be marching through London on October 19th demanding a People’s Vote.”