In Brief

Which rights will Brits lose post-Brexit?

Amnesty says UK citizens will be ‘stripped’ of protections

Britain’s EU Withdrawal Bill “is set to substantially reduce rights in the UK” and may also harm British citizens living abroad, Amnesty International has warned.

According to the human rights organisation’s latest annual report, the UK’s decision not convert the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into domestic law means British citizens will be “stripped” of protections such as the ability to bring a case to court founded on EU “general principles” - including the right to equality. Britain will also need to hold on to the principles of fair trials, free speech and decent labour standards, the report says.

“Under cover of Brexit, the Government is planning to strip the British public of protections - and people don’t even know their hard-won rights are under threat,” says Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.

Brexit could also inadvertently harm citizens abroad, as ministers may not press foreign nations on their human rights records in case it endangers trade deals, The Independent reports.

EU citizens’ rights in the UK is another matter entirely - and there are no clear answers yet.

According to The Times, Theresa May is planning to to a U-turn by allowing EU citizens who arrive in the UK during the post-Brexit transition to stay permanently. Only three weeks ago the Prime Minister said that those arriving after 29 March next year, when the UK leaves the EU, should not have the same rights as those who came before.

Downing Street “is now examining proposals to make a unilateral promise to EU citizens that they can remain if they arrive before the end of the transition period”, the newspaper says.

This would mean Brits living on the Continent could have fewer rights than EU citizens in the UK, since there is no guarantee that Brussels will offer the same terms. 

A Dutch court in Amsterdam recently asked the European court for clarification in a case brought by five British nationals settled in the Netherlands. The group are making a legal bid to retain their EU citizenship after Brexit, arguing that their rights cannot be removed under European law.

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