The Labour party is optimistic that it can force Theresa May and her government into concessions over the status of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom post-Brexit after they secured cross-party backing for an amendment to be added to May's article 50 bill.

Tory disagreement

During Brexit discussions in the House Of Lords, Conservative peer Lord Bowness included his signature on a Labour endorsed clause to guarantee the rights of EU citizens that plan to remain in Britain post-Brexit. Many Labour MPs interpreted this as a signal that the Tory party are far from agreement on the issue of EU citizen's rights post-Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats were planning on drafting a similar clause, however they fully backed Labour's version of the amendment in an attempt to put pressure on Theresa May's government. Labour's leader in the House of Lords, Angela Smith, stated: 'I have a lot of faith in this one. There is a lot of weight behind it. Talking to other peers across parties, I really think that we can secure the cross-party agreement on this issue'.

Rights being used as negotiating pawns

Prime Minister Theresa May has hitherto used the matter of guaranteeing EU citizens' rights to live in the United Kingdom as a political pawn, suggesting that she will only secure EU citizens' rights if the EU secures the rights of Brits living in Europe.

Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: 'The government is cognizant they are close to defeat on this issue.

People shouldn't be used as political pawns. It is crucial that Europeans living in the UK are given clarity over their future. The government has to recognise that'.

the3million, a campaign group aiming to guarantee the rights of Europeans living in the UK, lobbied parliament earlier in the week. A spokesperson for the group said: 'We're happy to see growing support for the amendment.

It is inhumane for people to be used as political footballs in negotiations. I'm confident that we can defeat the government on the issue'.

If the article 50 bill is amended, it will be sent back to the House of Commons next week to be debated once again.