Britons could pay to keep EU citizenship after Brexit under a new scheme

Updated: 

Britons could pay to retain the benefits of European Union citizenship after Brexit under plans being considered by MEPs.

The European Parliament's lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said he supported the principle of the idea, which would see UK citizens sending an annual fee to Brussels.

The former Belgian prime minister said Britons who voted Remain did not want to sever their links to the EU.

Guy Verhofstadt  (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)
Guy Verhofstadt (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)

"Many say 'we don't want to cut our links'," he told The Times. "I like the idea that people who are European citizens and saying they want to keep it have the possibility of doing so. As a principle I like it."

MEPs will vote on the proposals by the end of the year, but any Brexit deal with the UK would have to have the agreement of the leaders of the other 27 EU nations as well as the parliament.

Brexit-backing Tory MP Andrew Bridgen warned that Brussels would attempt anything to prevent the UK leaving the the EU.

He told the newspaper: "It's an attempt to create two classes of UK citizen and to subvert the referendum vote. The truth is that Brussels will try every trick in the book to stop us leaving."

(Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Theresa May remains determined to invoke Article 50 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Meanwhile, the Scottish and Welsh governments have set out their legal objections to Prime Minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 - the formal mechanism for leaving the EU - without seeking parliamentary approval.

The UK Government has appealed to the Supreme Court after judges ruled that MPs must be given a say before she can fire the Brexit starting gun.