MID-Worcestershire's MP has welcomed the announcement that EU citizens currently lawfully living in the UK will not be asked to leave when Britain exits the European Union.

A Government paper, released on Monday, has also outlined how EU nationals with five years’ continuous residence in the UK would be able to apply for “settled status” – effectively granting them indefinite leave to remain.

Prime Minister Theresa May made a statement to the Commons on Monday, in which she said: “They will be treated as if they were UK citizens for healthcare, benefits and pensions."

It is being stressed the offer was being made on the basis it would be fully reciprocated by the remaining 27 member states.

The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned the proposals did not go far enough, while European Council President Donald Tusk said the plan fell “below our expectations”.

But Nigel Huddleston said that he was pleased the government had delivered on its promise to open negotiations on the issue.

Mr Huddleston said: "It has always been a clear first priority of Brexit negotiations that the position of EU nationals living in the UK would be guaranteed in line with a reciprocal agreement.

"I appreciate that some EU citizens in my constituency have still been apprehensive about their status, so I am glad that the Government has delivered on its promise.

"EU nationals living in the UK contribute a huge amount to our economy and our way of life, and can now be confident that they can continue to do so for as long as they wish to remain here.

"This guarantee is a good first step, but I hope to see further assurances made on issues like migrant labour in agriculture and horticulture, and other areas that have been more heavily dependent on the movement of labour and skills from the EU.

"The Government is sending the right signals so far."