The Liberal Democrats have accused the government of “hypocrisy” after it was revealed that parliament employs almost 200 EU nationals – who might now have to return to their country of origin after Theresa May refused to guarantee their right to remain.
The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests by Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, reveal that 5.7% of parliamentary staff face an uncertain future due to Brexit.
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
“MPs who voted for Brexit seem happy to have doors opened for them and be waited on in restaurants in the Palace of Westminster by EU staff, yet they are effectively saying to staff ‘you might have worked here all your adult life, but at any given moment we might send you packing if we are unable to use you as bargaining chips.’ That is disgraceful.
“The government should guarantee the right to remain of all EU citizens and give the people a final say on the Brexit terms. You can't have a hard Brexit and a fair deal for EU workers.”
After it was revealed that the Commons employs 137 EU nationals and the House of Lords 58, Caroline Pidgeon accused Conservative and Labour MPs of “hypocrisy”.
Caroline Pidgeon said:
“Every MP or peer who fails to recognise the importance of EU workers should take a very careful look at their own workplace.
“From the cleaning of their offices through to the serving of food and drink, EU citizens are playing a key role in the daily running of parliament.
“It is simply hypocritical for any MP to vote against EU citizens being guaranteed the right to remain in the UK, and then spend the rest of the evening in a Commons’ bar staffed by EU citizens.
“MPs and Peers who fail to guarantee the status of EU citizens are creating unnecessary uncertainty and stress for many families around the UK. They are also undermining the effective running of a large number of businesses and public bodies, including parliament itself.”