After the EU referendum it is important to make clear the million EU citizens living in London that they will be always very welcome to remain living here. A press release from Hammersmith and Fulham Council purported to offer a “very clear” message but then, rather unhelpfully failed to add that Brexit would pose no threat to those living here. Instead the muddled press release quoted Cllr Stephen Cowan as saying:
“What happens next for our country and its relationships with other countries is unclear.”
In some respects that’s right. But what is clear, and should be made clear to everybody, is that there is no threat to those already legally settled in our borough, a capital or our country. It would have been responsible to have included this point.
It is certainly true that after we leave the European Union will have control of our own borders – and that may well mean an end to unlimited future immigration from the EU. That is very different to any suggestion of a threat to those already settled in our community and making a positive contribution to our economy and our public services.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was more responsible in his message which said:
“I want to send a particular message to the almost one million Europeans living in London, who make a huge contribution to our city – working hard, paying taxes and contributing to our civic and cultural life. You are welcome here. We value the enormous contribution you make to our city and that will not change as a result of this referendum.”
Why is this reassurance needed? It is due to some disgraceful scaremongering from Cllr Cowan and Mayor Khan’s Labour colleague Will Straw – which can be seen in the video. Mr Straw has yet to apologise for this most desperate example of Project Fear.