On its first debate regarding the first draft of the legislation that would bring the UK out of the European Union, party peers voted by 358 against 256 in guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom. Some peers said the UK government must not use EU nationals living in the United Kingdom as “bargaining chips” against the European Union.
The UK government said it was “disappointed” at the outcome of the debate. Party ministers justified that the rights of EU nationals is “a part of a deal that would involve the protection of UK expats living in EU countries.”
However, the peer vote could be overturned with an MP vote. Given that the commons passed the bill without amendment, the Lords was “a disappointment” for having the legislation amended.
Political analysts said that the government had likely expected the outcome as the UK government of Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to safeguard the rights of Britons living in the EU before safeguarding the rights of EU nationals inside the United Kingdom.
According to Lords leader Lord Strathclyde, the vote was evidence of “wrong-headed” and “muddled-thinking.”
MEPs in the European Parliament believed that EU citizens inside the United Kingdom “deserved to know” their legal rights after the completion of Brexit. Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said the nationals needed to know this “as soon as possible.”