Five million EU and British citizens should have their rights ring fenced in the event of a Brexit ‘no-deal’, say campaigners.

Bremain in Spain chair Sue Wilson called for ‘assurances’ that current rights would be maintained even if Britain fails to strike an overall deal with the EU.

It comes after the EU published its Brexit negotiating guidelines, which stated the rights of more than one million-EU based Brits and three million UK-based EU citizens should be protected.

But a Bremain in Spain spokesperson said people are ‘living in limbo…and being used as bargaining chips’ as there is no agreement to ‘ring fence’ citizens’ rights in the event of no final deal.

Wilson said: “We are greatly encouraged by the EU’s commitment to protect our rights for life.

“It seems clear that this is a red line for the EU and will provide much needed reassurance to millions of people who are worried about their futures.

“What would reassure us even more would be a similar commitment from the UK government.”

She added: “Furthermore, we need assurances that any deal agreed relating to citizens’ rights is guaranteed, regardless of other negotiations, and especially in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.”

Bremain in Spain is part of a coalition of expat groups called British in Europe.

Campaigners also called on UK political parties to include a pledge to maintain all rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK in their election manifestos.

Jeremy Morgan QC, a member of British in Europe, added: “We need all sides to agree to ring-fence that deal so that it will continue to stand even if there is no wider agreement covering all other matters, or if this is delayed.”

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