Publised date : 08 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today challenged the UK Government to provide clarity to EU nationals living in Perthshire and beyond.

Their renewed call comes after the SNP politicians hosted a joint public meeting for EU nationals at the Soutar Theatre in Perth. The meeting attracted over 100 attendees, and sought to assuage the fears of Perthshire-based EU nationals.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said

“Thursday’s meeting was a sombre experience. To witness first-hand the hurt, worry and uncertainty of my constituents was sobering, and sharply brought into focus the human cost of Brexit.

“After this meeting, it is clearer than ever that there are serious concerns and questions surrounding the EU Settlement Scheme. Whilst the SNP fundamentally oppose the dehumanising process of forcing people who have lived in Scotland for years to apply for the rights they already have, if such a scheme is put in place then it is crucial that it is well organised and clear for applicants. From speaking to my constituents, this is patently not the case.

“To date, the UK Government has utterly failed EU nationals in Perthshire and beyond. No Government is perfect, and all administrations will make mistakes, but to fail the most basic test of treating people with dignity and respect is unconscionable.

“To that end, Pete Wishart and I will once more be writing to the Home Secretary to express our serious concerns regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, and to highlight the plight of our constituents.” 

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“At the meeting we heard from Perth and Kinross residents who have lived here for decades, some over 50 years, who are being told that they have to apply to stay in the place they call home. We heard the frustration that EU nationals face, having been told that they have the right to permanent residency one minute, to being told that they must register in order to stay here the next. It was heart-breaking to hear fellow citizens speak about the hurt, anger and misery that this whole sorry affair has brought them.

“I am determined to encourage EU nationals to stay in Perthshire and to let them know that we very much value to contribution that they make to society. Alongside writing to the Home Secretary over the disastrous application scheme, we have also promised to host a follow-up meeting to continue to offer support to EU nationals going forward.”

The follow-up meeting will take over the next couple of months, and in the interim Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart will continue to provide individual support to constituents.

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