Alberto Costa urges Johnson to protect rights of EU citizens
Conservative MP Alberto Costa has urged Boris Johnson to fulfil his pledge to legislate for the rights of EU citizens.
He has signed a letter from former chancellor Philip Hammond, which has also signed by a number of other Tory rebels, warning against a no-deal Brexit on the grounds that these rights would not be ptotected by law.
Costa warned that he may support efforts to block a no-deal Brexit if these rights were not protected.
Costa has been a long-time campaigner on citizens’ rights and argued that the only way to ensure EU citizens were protected was through legislation prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union.
He also said that this was the only way reciprocal rights could be guaranteed for UK citizens.
Detailing his position, Costa said: “The best option is to bring back Theresa May’s deal because there are now more Labour MPs willing to vote for it. That is the only way out of this conundrum.
“I take the prime minister’s word that it is a million-to-one chance that we will leave with no deal. So I signed that letter as a polite reminder. The numbers in the House of Commons against no deal do not look good for Boris. The best way out is to vote for a deal.”
Outlining what would happen in a no-deal scenario if no legislation was brought forward, Costa stated: "If we leave without a deal, many EU member states have said they will not protect the rights of British citizens until their citizens’ rights are enshrined in British law. And the obligation is on us."
Costa revealed that Johnson had personally pledged to him that EU citizens rights would be protected.
He also argued that if legislation was not brought forward, Johnson would not only be reneging on his own promise but also that made by Vote Leave during the referendum campaign.
He argued: “The Vote Leave campaign promised this and the Vote Leave team is now in Downing Street,” he said. “I have honoured the outcome of the referendum by voting for Brexit three times. They have got to honour the pledges they made.”