Something remarkable happened yesterday. The House of Commons passed this motion:
this House supports the maintenance of European Union citizenship rights for Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish and English citizens, notes that the range of rights and protections afforded to individuals as European Union citizens are integral to a person’s European identity; further notes that many of those rights are closely linked to the UK’s membership of the Single Market; and calls on the UK Government to ensure that the UK’s membership of the Single Market and UK citizens’ right to European Union citizenship are retained in the event that the UK leaves the EU.
That argument (and indeed many of the arguments made in Parliament) has been the subject of several entries on this blog, the petition I have raised to the European Parliament (0922/2016, here), and a legal case currently being considered by the Dutch courts. The position to date has been that the British Government has signally failed to protect the rights of British citizens, probably because they fear that if they make the attempt, they will have to make reciprocal concessions to the EU. That would be worth doing, but the central argument is not one about protecting the interests of the UK; it is to require the EU to live up to the commitments that it has made to its citizens.