by Polly Toynbee
"Yet one Brexit peer after another rose to swear there was never any question of expelling them. Ministers, including the foreign secretary, have assured the TV cameras it will never happen. But if so, why not accept this amendment with good grace when it returns to the Commons?
No, they say: these 3 million people must be used as hostages – though representatives of the 1.2 million Britons in the EU say they want this amendment passed, as an act of goodwill. You can’t bargain unless you sincerely mean to carry out the threat. So which is it?
Mass expulsions would be unthinkable – May as the new Idi Amin? Besides, for a depleted police, border force and administrators, it would be a crippling near-impossibility. Are we really to say goodbye to 55,000 doctors and nurses, a million care workers and prized university students while devastating industries from agriculture to car-washing, hi-tech IT to finance, catering and tourism? Forget tourism entirely – we would become pariahs.
So which is it: they can definitely stay – in which case just accept that amendment and tell the world – or rattle a sabre you may then be forced to use, whatever the self-harm?"