Your leader refers to the Prime Minister’s “reasonable wish that British nationals should have the same protection in the EU” as that which Sadiq Khan and the House of Lords want to offer EU citizens here [“Give EU nationals here guarantees: it will help”, Comment, March 2].
Unfortunately, there is nothing “reasonable” about this if it means plunging EU citizens in this country — including their mainly British-born children — into many years of a twilight existence as “bargaining chips” in future negotiations with the EU.
By so doing Theresa May is exposing Brits in the EU to becoming bargaining chips too — precisely what she has been trying to avoid.
It looks as if it is the Home Office that is setting the agenda, regardless of its insensitivity to all things “foreign”, and its current shameful treatment of EU citizens’ supposedly automatic right to permanent residence. It is making EU citizens here very nervous. The Government should swallow its pride, recognise the right of all EU citizens who are currently here legally to stay and leave local authorities with the one-off task of registering them.
The Prime Minister is absolutely correct in refusing to guarantee the right of EU citizens living in Britain to remain here until Brussels grants the same right to British nationals living in EU countries.
There are three million EU nationals living in Britain and fewer than a million British nationals living in the EU. Why should the rights of the former be protected before those of the latter have been similarly safeguarded?
Given the increasingly belligerent anti-British rhetoric being spouted by the Eurocrats, Mrs May would be foolish to trust them without first obtaining a cast-iron guarantee.
For those individuals uncertain of access to work opportunities across the EU going forward, I would like to relate the experiences of my friends over the years.
Unfortunately, they have often come across the term “fonctionnaire d’etat”, which translates as “civil servant”. On applying for work as teachers, museum curators or working for local government in countries such as France, Spain or Italy, they have discovered that these positions require, as a prerequisite, a passport issued by that specific country. How this inequity across EU countries has been allowed to continue for this long beggars belief.
Britain, however, will still be open to skilled workers across all our employment sectors but after Brexit they will require a visa. This will enable our Government to regulate, in a sensitive way, both the quantity and quality of our future citizens from all over the world.
Labour is letting its voters down
As a Scot living in London, I found Sadiq Khan’s conference speech focused on Scottish nationalism to be offensive.
I voted for Khan to be Mayor because he stood strong against the divisive, damaging and dangerous politicking of his principal opponent, Zac Goldsmith. But his speech was a misrepresentation of the facts and a misunderstanding of Scottish politics and the Scottish people.
When I lived in Scotland, I voted for independence because I believe the people I elect should govern my affairs and the current constitutional framework does not deliver this. I want Scotland to have the powers to become a better, fairer, more inclusive and progressive nation.
I am not served well by an insular, hard Tory Brexit and I am lucky that our democracy lets me express the desire for a different path. It would have been better if Khan used his speech to explain why Labour has abandoned its principles by ushering through a hard Brexit with a three-line whip.
The lack of clarity on this matter is just one reason why people in Scotland are abandoning the ineffectual Labour Party in droves.
Apprentices need more help from employers
I am very encouraged by the work that is being done at all levels in addressing the barriers many young people face in getting into the workforce. In particular, I am proud that the City Corporation is rising to the challenge set by the Government to have 2.3 per cent of its workforce as apprentices.
However, if apprenticeships are going to represent a credible alternative to a degree, more employer contributions are needed to shape quality training schemes and match them to the skills required to boost economic productivity.
Alongside the skills agenda, employers should consider addressing social mobility by ensuring there is a diverse apprentice intake and provide progression routes through the apprenticeship levels.
Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London
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Put the Mayor's plan on pollution into action
Sadiq Khan has some good ideas in his attempts to tackle air pollution in the capital, such as imposing a driving ban on certain days or barring diesel vehicles. But wise words need to translate into real action or else London’s air pollution problem will not go away and people will continue to die needlessly.
In the first few days of this year, Londoners have already breathed in a year’s noxious fumes — with pollution in our city reportedly worse than in Beijing.
Setting meaningless targets by 2020, or 2025, will achieve nothing and is purely a tactic to kick the issue into the long grass.
Some of the initiatives put forward by the Mayor could be introduced immediately. There has to be action now, not later.
Diesel cars are not dangerous but the fuel that goes into them is. We need a fuel such as bio-diesel or liquid petroleum gas, which can provide a cleaner solution to emissions.
The Government, whether it is national or local, must give incentives whereby motorists can offset the cost of conversion and pay off the loan over a period. LPG is cheaper than diesel and conversion is possible, so let’s switch to gas so that we can all breathe more easily.
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Gunners can follow Chelsea's example
As an Arsenal fan, I can only look on with envy at what has happened at Chelsea this season.
After an embarrassing title defence last season, the club sacked fans’ favourite Jose Mourinho and brought in Antonio Conte as their new coach for the 2016/17 season. They are now 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, while Arsenal, under Arsene Wenger, continue to underachieve.
With Luis Enrique set to leave Barcelona and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri linked to the Arsenal job, following Chelsea’s lead with a change in management will surely help us get back to the top.
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