Theresa May confirms rights of Irish living in Britain will continue in event of no-deal Brexit

Thousands of Irish people living in Britain will have their rights protected even if there is a doomsday no-deal Brexit scenario and will not face the prospect of being thrown out of their adopted country.

British prime minister Theresa May's government has confirmed the common travel area rules will still exist regardless of any worst-case Brexit outcome and that her cabinet will update laws to make sure this remains the case if necessary.

In one of 28 technical notices on Brexit published by Downing Street today as Britain separately warned the EU it will refuse to pay its €44bn divorce bill if no Brexit deal is reached, officials moved to assure Irish citizens their rights will be protected.

The technical notice from the Department for Exiting the European Union read: “If you are an Irish citizen you would continue to have the right to enter and remain in the UK, as now. You are not required to do anything to protect your status.

"In addition, you would continue to enjoy the reciprocal rights associated with the common travel area in the same way that British citizens in Ireland would if there is no deal.

"These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services."

The confirmation is likely to be broadly welcomed by thousands of Irish people who have moved to Britain and established new lives and homes in Ireland's nearest neighbour.

Until now, there have been repeated concerns that the common travel area would not fully protect them from the damage a no deal Brexit scenario could reap, and that they may be forced to leave their adopted country.

Meanwhile, the British Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has warned the EU that London will not pay its €44bn divorce bill if there is no Brexit deal.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph yesterday, Mr Raab - who replaced David Davis this summer - said "the government would not pay the terms of the financial settlement" if there fails to be a Brexit deal, saying "there's no deal without the whole deal".

The comments came as ratings agency Moody's warned Ireland could be just as badly damaged by a no-deal Brexit as Britain, saying we could "bear a loss in output commensurate with that of the UK".

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