Scots Urge May to Give EU Residents Certainty Amid Brexit

The Scottish National Party urged U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to give more than 3 million European Union citizens resident in Britain certainty over their future as she prepares to trigger Brexit talks.

May has repeatedly rebuffed calls by lawmakers in both houses of Parliament to unilaterally guarantee the rights of citizens of the other 27 EU member states who reside and work in Britain. The matter will be resolved in official Brexit negotiations, which she aims to start by the end of March, according to the premier.

“It is highly detrimental to the U.K. economy and deeply unfair to families, for the U.K. government to continue to leave EU nationals in limbo over their residency status and rights,” Stephen Gethins, the SNP’s Europe spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. “The uncertainty and damaging rhetoric we have seen from the U.K. government is driving away the top talent we need and it is forcing families to reconsider their future here.”

The rights of EU citizens has become one of the most contentious topics of Brexit, with lawmakers from all the main parties accusing May of turning people into bargaining chips. She has said any guarantee is contingent on the rights of Britons abroad also being respected and has called on her counterparts in Europe to resolve the matter early in the divorce discussions.

Gethins wrote to May to raise the issue, which affects some 181,000 people in Scotland, according to the SNP.

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