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UK and Ireland sign deal to guarantee rights of citizens after Brexit UK and Ireland sign deal to guarantee rights of citizens after Brexit
(6 days later)
The government has signed a Brexit side-deal with Ireland to guarantee Irish and British citizens retain special rights in each others countries in the event of no deal.The government has signed a Brexit side-deal with Ireland to guarantee Irish and British citizens retain special rights in each others countries in the event of no deal.
The Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington, and Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, said the deal reflected two years of work to ensure the existing common travel area (CTA) and associated bilateral agreements were secured whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.The Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington, and Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, said the deal reflected two years of work to ensure the existing common travel area (CTA) and associated bilateral agreements were secured whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
“Our message to Irish citizens in the UK is that your rights will not change. You will still be able to move freely between Ireland, the UK and the islands,” said Lidington. “You will still be able to work, study, draw your pension and access social security and public services in the UK. Above all, you will be welcome. And we welcome the similar commitment the government of Ireland makes to British citizens in Ireland.”“Our message to Irish citizens in the UK is that your rights will not change. You will still be able to move freely between Ireland, the UK and the islands,” said Lidington. “You will still be able to work, study, draw your pension and access social security and public services in the UK. Above all, you will be welcome. And we welcome the similar commitment the government of Ireland makes to British citizens in Ireland.”
The agreement was detailed in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed before a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on Wednesday afternoon.The agreement was detailed in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed before a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Lidington said the deal reflected the “longstanding, cherished set of arrangements” that already existed. It is understood the MoU is an undertaking by both sides to take the “necessary legal and administrative steps” to ensure the status quo for all travel, employment and social security rights.Lidington said the deal reflected the “longstanding, cherished set of arrangements” that already existed. It is understood the MoU is an undertaking by both sides to take the “necessary legal and administrative steps” to ensure the status quo for all travel, employment and social security rights.
It confirms Irish nationals will continue to be able to vote in all elections in the UK and stand for public office, unlike other EU citizens who cannot vote in general elections. The voting arrangement is reciprocated in Ireland for British nationals settled in the country.It confirms Irish nationals will continue to be able to vote in all elections in the UK and stand for public office, unlike other EU citizens who cannot vote in general elections. The voting arrangement is reciprocated in Ireland for British nationals settled in the country.
It means there will be reciprocal access to education at all levels with home tuition fee loans and maintenance support for students going to university in each state.It means there will be reciprocal access to education at all levels with home tuition fee loans and maintenance support for students going to university in each state.
In the area of social security, it means that citizens can work in either country and have access to social security benefits such as pensions no matter which country they live or retire in.In the area of social security, it means that citizens can work in either country and have access to social security benefits such as pensions no matter which country they live or retire in.
European parliament elections take place across the UK and the rest of the EU, with any campaign likely to be dominated in the UK by smaller protest parties including Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and Ukip, as well as Change UK.European parliament elections take place across the UK and the rest of the EU, with any campaign likely to be dominated in the UK by smaller protest parties including Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and Ukip, as well as Change UK.
Results of the European elections are declared from 10pm, with the Conservatives expecting massive losses. From the limited amount of polling that has been carried out so far, the Brexit party or Labour look like the probable winners.Results of the European elections are declared from 10pm, with the Conservatives expecting massive losses. From the limited amount of polling that has been carried out so far, the Brexit party or Labour look like the probable winners.
Theresa May is planing to bring her withdrawal agreement back to to parliament for another vote.
This is the crucial date past which May said she would not countenance the UK staying in the EU. May must have passed her withdrawal deal before this date in order avoid British MEPs taking up their seats. This is the crucial date past which May said she would not countenance the UK staying in the EU. May must have passed her withdrawal deal before this date in order avoid British MEPs taking up their seats. 
The Commons is expected to return from summer recess, bar any early recall to deal with a Brexit crisis. The Commons is expected to return from summer recess, bar any early recall to deal with a Brexit crisis. 
The Labour and Conservative party conferences are held on consecutive weeks.The Labour and Conservative party conferences are held on consecutive weeks.
MPs return to parliament after the party conference season, 18 working days before the UK would be due to leave the EU. MPs return to parliament after the party conference season, 18 working days before the UK would be due to leave the EU. 
This is the last practical polling date on which a prime minister could hold a general election or second referendum – the final Thursday before the next meeting of the European council.This is the last practical polling date on which a prime minister could hold a general election or second referendum – the final Thursday before the next meeting of the European council.
EU leaders meet for the final meeting of the European council before the UK’s extension is due to expire.EU leaders meet for the final meeting of the European council before the UK’s extension is due to expire.
The six-month article 50 extension will expire.The six-month article 50 extension will expire.
The next date on which Tory MPs can hold a confidence vote in Theresa May, if she remains at the helm.The next date on which Tory MPs can hold a confidence vote in Theresa May, if she remains at the helm.
Rowena MasonRowena Mason
Coveney said the deal was an “important moment” between the two countries. “The CTA has provided rights and privileges to Irish and British citizens for nearly a century. However, it has not before been formalised in this way,” he said.Coveney said the deal was an “important moment” between the two countries. “The CTA has provided rights and privileges to Irish and British citizens for nearly a century. However, it has not before been formalised in this way,” he said.
Bill Foster, the managing director of the Irish branch of the immigration law firm Fragomen, said the deal was an “incredibly welcome development” as it created a clear foundation to guarantee the rights of British and Irish nationals in each other’s country, which until now had been accepted based on historical understanding but were not always clear in law.Bill Foster, the managing director of the Irish branch of the immigration law firm Fragomen, said the deal was an “incredibly welcome development” as it created a clear foundation to guarantee the rights of British and Irish nationals in each other’s country, which until now had been accepted based on historical understanding but were not always clear in law.
The agreement will benefit the estimated 300,000 Britons living in Ireland and about 350,000 Irish people in the UK.The agreement will benefit the estimated 300,000 Britons living in Ireland and about 350,000 Irish people in the UK.
Bernard Ryan, a professor of migration law at Leicester University, raised concerns as far back as 2016, arguing that bilateral statements might not have much legal value.Bernard Ryan, a professor of migration law at Leicester University, raised concerns as far back as 2016, arguing that bilateral statements might not have much legal value.
An international treaty on mutual rights would be the best outcome, he said, but added: “A public MoU is worthwhile, too, because it gives transparency and political guarantees.”An international treaty on mutual rights would be the best outcome, he said, but added: “A public MoU is worthwhile, too, because it gives transparency and political guarantees.”
The CTA has its roots in a deal agreed after Ireland gained independence from the UK in the 1920s and was further cemented through a series of laws including the Ireland Act 1949, which states Ireland “is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom”.The CTA has its roots in a deal agreed after Ireland gained independence from the UK in the 1920s and was further cemented through a series of laws including the Ireland Act 1949, which states Ireland “is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom”.
BrexitBrexit
IrelandIreland
Foreign policyForeign policy
EuropeEurope
European UnionEuropean Union
David LidingtonDavid Lidington
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