Kemi Badenoch contributions to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19


Tue 12th February 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees)
Committee Debate: 2nd sitting: House of Commons
12 interactions (1,376 words)
Mon 28th January 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Commons Chamber)
2nd reading: House of Commons
Money resolution: House of Commons
Programme motion: House of Commons
Ways and Means resolution: House of Commons
27 interactions (1,754 words)

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Second sitting)

(Committee Debate: 2nd sitting: House of Commons)
Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Tuesday 12th February 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Public Bill Committees
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Home Office

Colleagues, we have under 15 minutes left and at least four more people wanting to ask questions and I want to allow time for the Minister.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 2:45 p.m.

Q I want to pick up on the point just made by Rosa Crawford about UK citizens not wanting to do undesirable work and the need for migrants to do it. Do you think that sort of rhetoric is appropriate—that certain types of job are not good for UK citizens and we need other people from elsewhere to come in and do them? Do you not think that creates a perception that dirty, tough and difficult jobs are for other people and not for us? I say this as an immigrant myself.

Rosa Crawford: We have always said as a union movement that we stand for workers from all countries. We do not believe any workers should be working in degrading or exploitative conditions. That is why I say it is very important that the law allows workers from all countries, regardless of immigration status, to claim those employment rights.

Unfortunately, we have seen the deregulation of the labour market. In agriculture, the example we have been talking about, there used to be an Agricultural Wages Board that provided a floor level of conditions and pay in that sector. That was abolished under the coalition Government and Unite, the union that represents workers in the agricultural sector, has said since that has been abolished, there has been a proliferation of precarious contracts, illegal forms of contract, people in very exploitative conditions, people not receiving the pay they should, and people often not being paid the minimum wage in certain cases.

That form of labour market regulation, the Agricultural Wages Board, is just one example of how the removal of domestic employment protection results in more exploitation and an increase in the number of migrant workers employed in that sector. We know migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to taking up those forms of employment, or ending up in them, often because they need to secure an income quickly, because they have paid money to come to this country. Unfortunately, precarious jobs are the most likely type of job they are going to get, because those are the sectors of the economy that are expanding.

On average, if you arrive in this country needing a job quickly, you are probably going to end up on a zero hours or temporary contract or in a job with an illegal contract. Unfortunately, migrant workers are particularly likely to work in that sector. We have said that is absolutely unacceptable. We want good conditions in those sectors, for the migrant workers who come and the UK workers who are here already. If you improve conditions and pay, restore things such as wages councils, not just in the agriculture sector, but across the private sector, in hotels where—

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 2:48 p.m.

Q I am going to stop you because you are not answering the question that I asked. I hear you on the discussion on labour market regulation, but that is something completely different. It was about the rhetoric which you just used, and perhaps you did not hear yourself when you said it. I am going to assume that you did not quite mean what you said, that undesirable jobs are for people outside this country.

Rosa Crawford: I absolutely want to correct that if it was ever the perception. We would say undesirable jobs are undesirable for all workers. No worker should suffer them. All workers deserve to work in dignity.

Eleanor Smith (Wolverhampton South West) (Lab) Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 2:49 p.m.

Q Under the proposal in the White Paper, the UK will move to a system where every single migrant entering as a student or under the skilled route from any country will need to be sponsored. There have been concerns about this will raise an additional burden on businesses, universities, the NHS, schools and charities. What are your views on this?

Vivienne Stern: Perhaps I can start. The cost of managing the compliance requirements for non-EEA students and staff for universities is about £66 million a year—a huge cost. I want to make it clear that universities are one of the biggest users of the immigration system and there has never been any suggestion from us that they should not be responsible for working to make sure that the visa system is not abused, but the cost is huge.

If we increase the number of individuals coming through that sort of system by adding EEA workers to the group of people that universities have to manage through the compliance system, the cost will increase, at least in proportion, unless something has changed. We have got a piece of work going on at the moment about estimating the cost of compliance to improve on that £66 million figure. When we have got the results of that, I am quite happy to write to the Committee with a sense of what we think the cost might be.

As I understand it, there is an opportunity now to try and refine the compliance system to make it easier for those sponsors to discharge their responsibilities without it being a massively burdensome and costly exercise, but also make it more appealing for people who are coming into the UK and experiencing it from the other side. I would like to add that the Home Office has said repeatedly that universities are highly compliant. There is a genuine desire to make sure the system is not abused, so I hope we can get to a position where it is a little bit lighter touch.

Break in Debate

Kate Green Portrait Kate Green - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:32 p.m.

Q That is exactly my question. What could we put in place, or what could the Government put in place, to strengthen protections for workers in this situation? I wonder whether you might want to say a little more specifically about what you would look for in terms of a Government or legislative solution, and to what extent there might be other features or actors that might offer protections.

Caroline Robinson: As I said, we work a lot on the role of the labour inspectorates, particularly, while it still exists—as I said, there is a discussion about a single labour inspectorate and the Government have committed to that—at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority’s licensing being expanded to high-risk sectors, particularly those that are likely to take on a number of short-term workers in the future. Those sectors are already high-risk and then they might have a high proportion of short-term migrant workers. We feel that there is a really strong case then for licensing those sectors—sectors discussed, such as care and construction—where there is a real risk to workers of exploitation.

We have also looked at the Agricultural Wages Board and the seasonal workers pilots, obviously in the agricultural sector. We are lucky that we still have an Agricultural Wages Board in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, but the absence of one in England and Wales is a real risk in terms of setting the standards for workers in the agriculture sector. So I think it would be useful to look at what kind of worker voice could be integrated in setting standards in the agriculture sector, again given the high risk of isolation and exploitation of workers.

Meri Åhlberg: Another important thing would be to grant people access to public funds. If people are coming here on work contracts they are paying taxes, so they are paying for their services. It seems counterintuitive to not allow people access to services they are already paying for, making them vulnerable in that process.

Caroline Robinson: I would mention again these bilateral labour agreements, to have some kind of engagement with sending categories. At the moment the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority has to rapidly try to license labour providers in a range of countries outside the EEA. They have already found it quite hard within the EEA to license labour providers, understanding the different jurisdictions and engaging with workers’ possible vulnerabilities. Having a structure and engagement on the basis of labour rights with a country that sends workers to our country and ensuring labour standards are upheld offers a framework, at least, for enforcing labour rights.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:35 p.m.

Q How much of your research is focused exclusively on agricultural workers as opposed to workers in other sectors? Do you have any information or data on other areas in terms of the percentage of people using these visa schemes who would be working outside agriculture?

Caroline Robinson: The visa scheme announced in that amount of detail—and for which we have pilot operators—is the seasonal workers pilot. That is in the agricultural sector. The short-term—as they have been termed—visas in the immigration White Paper, the temporary short-term workers schemes, are for all sectors as far as we can see.

We looked particularly at high-risk sectors in the UK. The most recent in-depth piece of research we did looked at the construction sector. We are also conducting work looking at the hospitality industry, particularly at hotels. Generally we look at sectors that we believe are at risk of exploitation. We are particularly interested in the functioning of the seasonal workers pilot because that is up and running, in so far as we are engaging with the pilot operators. We are talking to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority about how they will oversee that pilot.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard

Q So that is why the focus is there. Have you looked at any other historical or previous temporary visa schemes that have occurred in the UK to see what sort of issues came out of them? Do you have any research on that?

Meri Åhlberg: Specifically in the UK?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:40 p.m.

In the UK. There have been other temporary visa schemes, but I am not aware of high levels of exploitation around them. If there are lots of cases I would like to hear about them.

Meri Åhlberg: We have done research on the previous seasonal agricultural workers scheme, which ended in 2013, and we have also done research on the sector-based scheme, which brought workers into hospitality and food processing. That ended in 2013, but had been slowly being phased out.

In the sector-based scheme it was found that workers were paying up to £10,000 in recruitment fees to come to the UK. They were heavily in debt when they arrived in the UK, and were therefore unable to leave abusive or exploitative situations because they were afraid of not being able to pay back that debt.

In the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, there were a lot of issues around people being unable to change their employer. They had to have permission from the scheme operator to do so, but sometimes the scheme operator and the employer were the same person. In practice it was very difficult to change employers, meaning that if you were in an exploitative or abusive situation you had to either choose to leave the country and leave your source of income, or put up with it. There are a lot of cases of people not being paid the minimum wage, and of people not having guaranteed hours and so not earning enough. There was an over- supply of workers, meaning that employers did not have to provide enough work for people to earn money. There will be a similar problem in this scheme; there are not any guaranteed hours in the seasonal workers programme pilot.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:44 p.m.

Q If I were to look at this from the perspective of my constituents, I do not think that a lot of the suggestions around just not having the visas would fly. I think people would want to know what sort of things the Government could do on the employer side, to improve the situation. For example, do you think that instead of a 12 month on, 12 month off regime, being able to renew after the end of a 12-month visa would be helpful in providing some type of certainty?

Meri Åhlberg: That would definitely be better than having to bring in people who had no networks here or no idea about their labour rights. If you have people who can stay for longer periods, over time they learn about their rights, and have a better chance of unionising and, essentially, of gaining employment rights, or enforcing their employment rights.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:44 p.m.

Q Do you think that providing information about those rights on arrival, rather than by osmosis while they are here, would be a better way of ensuring that people were aware of what they could access and what their rights were?

Meri Åhlberg: Definitely. Pre-departure training and on-arrival training about people’s rights is really important. Having a multilingual complaints hotline or a 24-hour hotline, on which workers can make complaints is also important, but the most important thing would be to have proactive well-resourced labour market enforcement, to ensure that people were not depending on migrant workers and vulnerable workers coming forward and enforcement being based on reaction to a worker making a complaint. There is a lot of evidence to show that vulnerable workers do not come forward, so what needs to be in place is really proactive enforcement.

Stuart C McDonald Portrait Stuart C. McDonald - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 4:42 p.m.

Q Quite a few of my questions have already been asked. Just to clarify, is FLEX saying that you would not want a seasonal agricultural workers scheme at all, or are you saying that if you are going to have one you have to ensure that you learn from the previous scheme and the experience of other countries, and that there are things you can do to try to clamp down on exploitation?

Caroline Robinson: We feel like many, I suppose, in the business of protecting workers’ rights in a conflicted situation. We recognise that there will be a shortage of workers in this country after Brexit. Equally, looking at seasonal workers programmes, as we have done over the past year, in great detail, workers in those programmes are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. If we were asked to start from nothing, we would not be proposing seasonal temporary workers schemes, but we are trying to engage with the programmes that are being suggested, to advocate for strong protective mechanisms to be integrated into those programmes.

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(Money resolution: House of Commons)
(Programme motion: House of Commons)
(Ways and Means resolution: House of Commons)
Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Monday 28th January 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Bill Main Page
Home Office
Sir John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 6:23 p.m.

To be clear, I started this contribution by saying that change and challenge were part of every life. Change is inevitable and constant, and advanced societies of course have people coming and going to and from them. Indeed, that has been the case in our country for a long time, but the level and extent of net migration into this country over recent years have been unprecedented. If we look at the numbers, over the past 10 years, roughly speaking in net terms, 250,000 migrants have entered Britain each year.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 6:24 p.m.

Contrary to what the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) says, as a first-generation immigrant, I know that it is wholly inconsistent to say that immigrants have not changed this country or communities in any way whatsoever. Sometimes there is positive change, and sometimes there is negative change—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman shakes his head in disagreement, but I am merely repeating his words. Does my right hon. Friend agree there are both positive and negative changes, and that we want more of the positive and less of the negative?

Sir John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes - Hansard

I do agree, and part of that is about scale. Part of that is about the absorption of new peoples, about building the kind of common sense of identity that I called for, and about ensuring that what we share is more important than that which divides us, as I also said a few moments ago. If we are to build that kind of social cohesion and that civil harmony, it is important to recognise, as my hon. Friend says, the consequences of immigration, where they are both positive and less so. Many communities across Britain felt at the time of the referendum—using that as an expression—that some of the changes were not positive. That is partly because free movement tended to bring people to particular communities in the east of England, including in my county of Lincolnshire, and other similar places, so that the number of people who came was not spread out evenly. People were often concentrated in small towns that changed very radically very rapidly, and it is the extent of that change that causes some of the concerns that I have attempted to amplify.

Break in Debate

Preet Kaur Gill Portrait Preet Kaur Gill - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 6:57 p.m.

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, on which I am about to expand. Staff shortages in our NHS and care sector will leave our loved ones waiting longer in hospital corridors to see a nurse. As my hon. Friend has just pointed out, we must ensure that we have nurses and care workers. We must ensure that our NHS and our care sector have the people that they need with the right level of skills. That is why I cannot support the Bill on Second Reading. Does the Secretary of State agree that equating pay and skill undermines the desire for an immigration system that, to quote the Prime Minister’s foreword to the December White Paper,

“welcomes talent, hard work, and the skills we need”?

The second concern I wish to raise is about indefinite detention. As it stands, there are no limits on the length of time a person can be held in immigration detention in the United Kingdom. Anyone who has met those who have faced indefinite detention will know the pain and harm it causes. With the Bill potentially expanding the number of EEA nationals liable for detention, will the Government listen to the range of voices asking for an end to indefinite detention?

Finally, on the social security element of the Bill and the immigration White Paper, the latter proposes a more restrictive system for EU citizens’ entitlements, including longer waiting times before entitlement, so what guarantees will the Secretary of State give to protect EU citizens? With the EU likely to reciprocate any new restrictions on social security entitlement, what does he say to the more than 1 million UK citizens living in the EU who will have to face confines, or even become ineligible?

We in this House have a tendency to view issues as intrinsically good or bad, so I call on Members from all parties to reflect on a vital section of the MAC report that says that

“the impacts of migration often depend on other government policies and should not be seen in isolation from the wider context.”

I hope the Government heed that advice.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7 p.m.

I mentioned earlier in this debate that I was speaking as a first-generation immigrant. Immigration is an issue that is very close to my heart. My personal experience, especially through my immediate family and relatives, has been not from an EU perspective, but from a non-EU perspective. One good thing about the Bill is that we are no longer focusing on nationality, but, really importantly, on skills and ending this form of discrimination. I know that, in the future, most of the red meat will be coming with the immigration rules, so I shall speak on the substantive points in the Bill.

One of the primary reasons that I supported the withdrawal agreement was because of the reciprocal guarantees on citizens’ rights. As leaving the EU is such a huge fundamental change to this country, it is only right that we have clear rules and that we think very carefully about what the new regime will be like. Quite clearly, this is a country that welcomes migrants; the numbers speak for themselves. For every British citizen who is in the EU, there are four EU citizens in this country, so we know that this is a country that welcomes immigration—that is just EU migration, let alone migration from the rest of the world. One huge challenge has been the language that we use to discuss immigration and, in particular, freedom of movement. I thank the Home Secretary, who is no longer in his place, for taking a lot of the emotion out of this debate, allowing us to focus on the logic, the reason and the substantive issues.

One Opposition Member—I cannot remember their name—talked about negative media rhetoric and about the language that is used to talk about migrants. I think that a lot of that starts from this House. It comes not, as Opposition Members may think, from the language that is used on the Government Benches, but from the whipping up by the Opposition of things that are not necessarily to do with immigration, so that they can get good headlines. I say to Members to look, for example, at how the shadow Home Secretary conflated illegal and legal migration in her opening statement when she was talking about those “Go home” vans. This is not in any way an endorsement of that sort of technique, but it was quite clear that those things were used to talk about illegal migration. This constant conflation of legal and illegal migration is one of the things that whips up the rhetoric. It starts from here and ends up going out there.

The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), who is not in his place, intervened on his colleague to say that Tories do not want to see anyone coming to this country at all. That is completely ridiculous.

David Linden Portrait David Linden (Glasgow East) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:02 p.m.

rose—

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:02 p.m.

No, I will not give way. I want to make this point.

The same people who say that we on these Benches do not want anyone to come to this country will also complain that we are letting in more non-EU migrants such as me and my family.

David Linden Portrait David Linden - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:02 p.m.

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:02 p.m.

I will take the intervention.

David Linden Portrait David Linden - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:02 p.m.

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. I just wanted to remind her of some history. It was the Conservative party that, in an election, had huge billboards saying, “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” That was the kind of rhetoric that was whipped up by this Tory party, so I will take no lectures from her on that point.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:03 p.m.

In that case, nor will I take any lectures from Scottish National party Members. We can see from their sparkling racial diversity just how much they care about immigration. As someone who came to this country as a first-generation immigrant, I have seen at first hand both the positives and the negatives of immigration. There are not enough people who are willing to speak the truth on the subject.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:03 p.m.

Come and join us.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:03 p.m.

No, I am not interested in joining any nationalist party, but I thank the hon. Gentleman whose constituency I forget for inviting me to join. The fact is that if we are to have a calm debate about immigration, what we need are facts and figures, not smug self-righteousness, which is all that we get from those on the Opposition Benches.

I will continue on the topic of free movement, which is what this Bill is about. We all have different constituency experiences, which will have an impact on this discussion. I have had many positive discussions with Conservative Members. For instance, my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Colin Clark) talked about positive impacts in relation to immigration in his constituency. I listened to my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) talk about some of the difficulties that his constituency has had. We have both positive and negative experiences.

What creates the problem is when Members on the Opposition Benches, and perhaps some on these Benches, feel that only they have the best intentions and that anyone else who speaks with concerns is speaking from xenophobia and racism. That is absolutely wrong. We cannot think the very best of ourselves and the worst of anyone else who is not in our party, or who is not sitting on our side of the House. I am very, very willing, even as an immigrant, to hear arguments against immigration, because I know that immigration is a global issue. It is not a UK issue. Every single country in the world is talking about it. It is completely crazy for us to have this discussion as if it were a UK-only issue, or even an EU-only issue, and believe that no one else has the experience to be able to speak on it.

From the perspective of my constituency, immigration has, perhaps, an indirect effect. The north of my constituency has a huge biotech and pharmaceutical industry, and many of the arguments that people make there are very, very similar to those that have been made by SNP Members and by my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon and others, about the need to ensure that we continue to have a strong relationship with the EU—that is something that I support. Speaking as someone who was a former London Assembly member, I have also seen how immigration has an indirect effect on those of us outside London. My Essex constituency has seen a huge rise in house prices and house building, which is having an effect on its population in a very significant and profound way. It is not because loads of immigrants are coming to take on our jobs, but because lots of people who migrate to London raise prices and take up housing there, causing a push-out effect on other parts of the country, which we do not get the resources to deal with. As was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Luke Graham), who is no longer in his place, we should be looking at trying to reduce the impact of negative consequences on places such as Saffron Walden and Uttlesford District Council.

Sir John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:06 p.m.

The point that my hon. Friend is making, and her willingness to tackle what Trevor Phillips described as the “liberal delusion” about the problems of mass migration, are important in respect to housing, because immigration is the single biggest driver of housing demand.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:07 p.m.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his intervention. We need to look at what is actually happening and to think of an immigration system that will work for the very north of our country as well as for the very south. There will not be a one-size-fits-all approach. I am very willing to listen to arguments from Opposition Members about how much they need it, but they also need to extend the same courtesy and not pretend that everyone on this side of the House, including people like me who grew up in Nigeria, are racist. That is completely mad.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:07 p.m.

The hon. Lady talks about the UK’s one-size-fits-nobody migration policy. Like other countries such as Canada and Switzerland, does she support decentralising or devolving the issue, or is she still of the mindset that we must hold things centrally in London, and that London knows best?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:08 p.m.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point, and I can see why he is making it. I am not someone who supports devolution, and I do not think that that would necessarily solve the problem. [Interruption.] I am talking about the devolution of this issue. We have a national border, so devolving national border issues to specific places will not solve the problem, but I take his point.

Social security co-ordination is another reason why I support the Bill. Those of us with long memories will remember that this very matter was one reason why former Prime Minister David Cameron went to the EU to seek a negotiated change to some of these things. Perhaps if we had been able to resolve this issue, we would not be having this debate now.

We can do better. We should be asking ourselves more questions around migration. On free movement, is it fair, for instance, for us to absorb all the youth and young people from southern Mediterranean countries and not to give back? We do not talk enough about brain drain, for example. We do not talk enough about villages in eastern Europe that are losing all their young people. Migration is not going two ways. Not enough people from this country are going to eastern Europe. We talk about going to France and to the Netherlands—

David Duguid Portrait David Duguid (Banff and Buchan) (Con) - Hansard

rose—

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:08 p.m.

I will give way to my hon. Friend.

David Duguid Portrait David Duguid - Hansard

On that point, my hon. Friend talks about the brain drain from eastern European countries to here, but does she not also recognise that the economies of many of those countries are improving to the point that people from those countries no longer wish to come to the UK? They want to stay at home and develop their careers there, which is why we need this Bill to extend our reach beyond the EU.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 2:30 p.m.

My hon. Friend is right. There is no one-size-fits-all picture. There are lots of different things happening in lots of different places, and piecing together the pieces of this complex picture will give us the solution.

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 2:30 p.m.

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 2:30 p.m.

I am afraid that I cannot take any more interventions because I am running out of time.

We can and should do better. We need a moral migration policy that is right for everyone—not just the migrants coming in, but those going out. We should also be looking at the polling numbers. It is not a coincidence that attitudes towards migration are more positive than they have been for a very long time, and that is because we are tackling people’s concerns not about immigration, but about uncontrolled, open-borders immigration. It is difficult to control free movement, but people want to see more control. It is not a coincidence that now that we are tackling the issue, we are seeing concerns about migration fall. That is why I am very happy to support this Bill.

Anna Soubry Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 2:30 p.m.

Can we just make it very clear that we do control our borders? The last time that I went overseas on holiday, I had to show my passport and so did everybody else.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard

Perhaps I was a bit too loose with my words. I am not saying that there is not control whatever, but that people want more control and do not feel that free movement is enough control.

Tim Farron Portrait Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD) - Parliament Live - Hansard
28 Jan 2019, 7:11 p.m.

It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mrs Badenoch), who gave an impassioned and well-delivered speech, almost all of which I disagreed with.

This Bill has taken its time to arrive. And now that it is before us, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Right the way through, it is based on an assumption made by the Prime Minister in her Lancaster House speech that what 17 million people meant when they voted leave was that we needed to end freedom of movement, not just for EU citizens in the UK, but for UK citizens throughout the European Union. I am 100% certain that 100% of the 52% did not mean that, but the Government’s assumption that they did is essentially why the red lines set by the Prime Minister have left the Government in a position where they are incapable of delivering any form of Brexit that does not wreck the British economy. If the Prime Minister wanted more time to reconsider her position, reconsidering those red lines would be the wisest thing she could do. If she then reached across to the other side the Chamber, she might well find reasonable people on the Opposition Benches who are prepared to listen to her.

The Bill abandons freedom of movement. With a slash of a pen, the rights of people in this country will be drastically reduced. British people, young and old, will lose the right to travel freely, to study overseas, to make friendships in other countries and to build careers. I am afraid that the Minister and the Home Secretary are both young enough to live long enough to have history judge them very harshly for this Bill, and they should be warned in advance. There are people who have made their homes here, and 3 million of our neighbours and colleagues are being told, not very subtly, that they are not wanted here. Britain is surely much better than this.