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Sadiq Khan visits Stratford on tour supporting EU citizens

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 March 2019

Sadiq Khan says that, failing a general election, he wants to see another referendum on Brexit, with no-deal off the table. Picture: Luke Acton.

Sadiq Khan says that, failing a general election, he wants to see another referendum on Brexit, with no-deal off the table. Picture: Luke Acton.

Luke Acton

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a tour helping EU citizens through the settlement process at the University of East London (UEL).

Sadiq Khan leaving the Brexit bus. Picture: Luke Acton.Sadiq Khan leaving the Brexit bus. Picture: Luke Acton.

At the same time he’s pushing for Theresa May to call another general election and, failing that, a second referendum.

The bus has immigration specialists who can help EU citizens through the government’s settlement scheme and is going to ten boroughs that have some of the highest numbers of people from the EU.

“MPs have changed their minds, ministers have changed their minds, and members of the cabinet have changed their minds,” said Mr Khan.

“They’re bringing back the same vote again and again and again, but the British public aren’t allowed to have the final say on our future. I think that’s an outrage.”

Professor Verity Brown, pro-vice chancellor of UEL. “[UEL students have] been educated in English. They are in our health system. It’s folly, it’s just folly that we would let them go.” Picture: Luke Acton.Professor Verity Brown, pro-vice chancellor of UEL. “[UEL students have] been educated in English. They are in our health system. It’s folly, it’s just folly that we would let them go.” Picture: Luke Acton.

“I don’t think anyone is ready for a no-deal scenario, but London has done as much planning as it can.”

He said he wants to see as many Londoners from the EU to stay so they can keep contributing to the economy.

The bus tour is designed to publicise what EU citizens need to do to remain in the UK.

“My concern has been that because of the decision to leave the EU, many of these EU citizens will decide either to leave London or we won’t have new talent coming from the European Union,” Mr Khan said.

Annabelle Legal, 19 is from France and studying at UEL. “I want a clear line. Every country has rules that work for their own benefit, so I’m not expecting charity or anything. I just want set rules.” Picture: Luke Acton.Annabelle Legal, 19 is from France and studying at UEL. “I want a clear line. Every country has rules that work for their own benefit, so I’m not expecting charity or anything. I just want set rules.” Picture: Luke Acton.

“Newham as a borough and London as a city and our country needs this talent.”

Annabelle Legal is 19 and is in her third year at UEL. She moved from France to study physiotherapy and intends to work in the NHS.

Like everyone else, she said EU citizens just want clarity.

“I came here before Brexit was even a thing and I started thinking of working as a physiotherapist with certain terms and conditions,” she said.

“I just want to know whether or not my degree is going to be worth the same as any other British citizen when I’ve put in the same amount of work.

“I want a clear line. Every country has rules that work for their own benefit, so I’m not expecting charity or anything. I just want set rules.”

She added that she and a lot of EU citizens worried that, even if they were allowed to stay in the UK, it would become difficult to visit their families in their home countries.

Head of the student union and law graduate Elham Peserlay said, because they can’t afford solicitors, free immigration advice is important for EU students.

The media scrum around Sadiq Khan and the Brexit bus. Picture: Luke Acton.The media scrum around Sadiq Khan and the Brexit bus. Picture: Luke Acton.

That their status is even threatened is frustrating for Professor Verity Brown, pro-vice chancellor of UEL.

She wants national leaders to get over party politics and address the problems created by Brexit and austerity.

“We have a huge programme in health services,” she said.

“Our students intended and expected to work and that they would be working in the NHS. We told them that we needed them to do just that. Now they’ll be citizens of third countries.

The bus will tour 10 areas with London's highest EU populations. Picture: Luke Acton.The bus will tour 10 areas with London's highest EU populations. Picture: Luke Acton.

“They’ve been educated in English. They are in our health system. It’s folly, it’s just folly that we would let them go.”

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