Following the Prime Minister's statement on the European Council meeting, James Cleverly urges the PM to ensure that her wish for the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the remaining EU to be a priority in the negotiations is not used as a bargaining chip by EU negotiators who want to prioritise the so-called divorce settlement.
James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con)
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made it clear at the Dispatch Box and in the country that she wishes to prioritise certainty for UK nationals living in the EU 27 and for EU nationals living here in the UK, but I have it on good authority that the EU negotiators want to prioritise the so-called divorce settlement. Will she make it clear to the people with whom she is negotiating that we will not countenance British and EU citizens being used as bargaining chips in such a way?
The Prime Minister
My hon. Friend is right. We want to ensure reciprocal arrangements for EU citizens living here and for UK citizens living in the EU in terms of their future status, and I want to see that discussion taking place at an early stage in the negotiations. I recognise his point about some of the things that are being said, but I will simply say that, following my conversations with other European leaders, I believe that there is an extent of goodwill to deal with this issue at an early stage.