Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson donned a ‘Derry Girl’ sweater to warn the European Parliament not to trust ‘Perfidious Albion’ until legislation was enacted to fulfil the terms of the recently agreed new withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Speaking in Strasbourg on Monday evening she said: “Britain is a country that you cannot trust, that never keeps its word. ‘Perfidious albion.’
So until MEPs see Brexit legislation in enacted we must not give our consent to the withdrawal agreement because the British establishment will be working to undercut it piece by piece.”
She specifically raised citizenship rights and the case of County Derry woman Emma DeSouza who has been in a long-running battle with the British Home Office to try to secure her rights as an Irish and EU citizen.
Ms. DeSouza recently lost a Home Office appeal against a ruling that declared people born in the North were not automatically British.
“Last week it wasn’t just Emma who lost her case. We all lost. As an Irish and EU citizen Emma has a right to love and to sponsor Jake [her husband] and she has a right to defend Irish citizenship,” said Ms. Anderson.
She argued that the British Government should amend its British Nationality Act 1981 which, according to the British Courts, still has legislative effect despite the Good Friday Agreement peace settlement of 1998.
“Britain needs to upgrade its archaic 1981 citizenship legislation to fulfil its Good Friday Agreement obligations otherwise British citizens could lose their British citizenship in a united Ireland just as our Irish citizenship is denied to us now and we don’t want to see that happen,” she said.