Kemi Badenoch debates with Home Office

There have been 8 exchanges between Kemi Badenoch and Home Office

Thu 14th February 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Third sitting) (Public Bill Committees) 5 interactions (1,060 words)
Thu 14th February 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Fourth sitting) (Public Bill Committees) 5 interactions (651 words)
Tue 12th February 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees) 11 interactions (1,376 words)
Mon 28th January 2019 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 27 interactions (1,754 words)
Fri 11th January 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 3 interactions (968 words)
Wed 19th December 2018 Future Immigration 3 interactions (83 words)
Wed 6th June 2018 Rural Crime and Public Services 9 interactions (996 words)
Mon 30th April 2018 Windrush 3 interactions (123 words)

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

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 14th February 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
Nick Thomas-Symonds Portrait Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen) (Lab) - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Q My question is principally directed to the Children’s Society. Obviously, at the moment, the Government have set about waiving the charge for the EU settlement scheme, but there is still a power in clause 4(5) of the Bill that allows the modification of provisions on the imposition of fees and charges. I am interested in how that relates to vulnerable children, especially looked-after children. First, what are the barriers to those children being able to register? Secondly, what can the Home Office do to assist with those children to ensure that they are registered under the scheme as they are entitled to be?

Ilona Pinter: As I mentioned before, and as Steve mentioned, we are concerned about the significant fees, not just in relation to citizenship registration but more broadly. However, as the Bill is focused on EEA nationals, there is an opportunity here to tackle citizenship registration fees, which are more than £1,000 per child. That makes it prohibitive for many families to be able to acquire those rights, which may be in the child’s best interests. The EU settlement scheme will apply to many children, but it may not be in the child’s best interests to have EU settled status because citizenship provides for greater protection.

We really welcome the Government waiving the fees for the EU settlement scheme. That will help a lot of families for sure, particularly given the levels of poverty among EEA nationals and families, but the risk is that the costs will then be shifted on to other areas. I think there is a real concern in the sector about what happens come April, when the fees normally go up. That is one of the issues that is highlighted with the fees—that there is very little scrutiny and oversight around fee regulation, which is one of our concerns going forward with this kind of approach. For instance, there was no children’s rights impact assessment on fees, including for looked-after children, which you asked about.

There is not currently a waiver for citizenship fees, so local authorities are having to pick up the bill. Interestingly, the issue of the EU settlement scheme came up at the Home Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday. One of the things that was flagged up in that session and in the beta testing review report is that, for the local authorities involved in that second phase of testing, quite a lot of them—although the numbers are not given, and we would urge the Committee to ask questions about that—said that in many cases, children did not have their original passports, which would be the first stumbling block for the EU settlement scheme. Of course, local authorities are going to have to think about not only settling children’s status but settling their citizenship, because as corporate parents, they have to act in the best interests of the child, as any other parent would. That will often mean for that child to apply for citizenship rather than for the EU settlement scheme.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:03 p.m.

Q I would like to bring us back to the issue of 28 days and the time-limited detention. I do not think anyone in this room wants to see unnecessarily long detention. You have all talked about how the system is not robust enough. If a case cannot be determined within 28 days, what rights do you think the applicant should be given?

Steve Valdez-Symonds: It is wrong, firstly, to think of the case being determined within 28 days. I think you have got to think about the whole of the time in which you are talking about an applicant. It is also quite dangerous to think of applicants, too. People who are taken into detention include people who have been through a process and have been applicants and may still be applicants; they also include people who did not even know they had an issue with the immigration services. Think back to the Windrush scandal. People were picked up who were perfectly entitled to be here and had not had any thought that over the last several decades they had had any problem with the immigration system, and they found themselves in detention. There is a whole range of issues to consider in terms of what is going on here.

From our point of view, the straightforward point is that detention is supposed to be for two specific purposes only. The most important one is to effect a lawful removal. At the moment, we have large-scale routine use of a very extreme power. Going back to the first question, we have a system that clearly is not—if you want to use the word—robust enough to exercise the power fairly and sensibly, let alone humanely, for the thousands of people it is imposed on. If we had a system that was properly directed towards using such powers appropriately at the time that it was appropriate to use them, perhaps we would have a robust system. Perhaps many fewer people would end up being detained. Perhaps the smaller number of people who were detained would be those whom the system was lawfully seeking to remove and had some real potential of removing within what should be a very short period of time.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:05 p.m.

Q How much of the system not being robust enough do you think is due to the fact that there is such a high volume of immigration cases that need to be dealt with?

Steve Valdez-Symonds: I think the aspects go far and wide. You have made the immigration rules so incredibly complex over the last many years; immigration appeals for so many people have been taken away; legal aid is not available to so many people, even to understand what their situation is, including, as it happens, people who are entitled to British citizenship but cannot get legal aid to establish their citizenship rights. All of those things make for a very complex system, which, unfortunately, even the Home Office frequently does not understand. The courts have not only found that this system is so byzantine but have had to rule in cases where the Home Office has not been able to present a consistent understanding of the rules it is trying to operate.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:05 p.m.

Q I am sorry to stop you, but I sense there is a lot passion.

Steve Valdez-Symonds: There is a lot of passion, yes.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 12:05 p.m.

Q But it sounds like you are hectoring me. I would actually like you to take some of the emotion out of your answers and just stick to the facts, please.

Steve Valdez-Symonds: I am sorry to have given that impression. I certainly did not mean to do that. I apologise to the Committee more generally. All I would say is that the system, over a very long period of time—this is not just a matter of this Administration; it is years and decades—has become very complex and safeguards have been taken away from people. If you want to understand how people end up in detention in the situations that I have been concerned about, there are myriad reasons why this system does not work, long before detention even happens.

Bella Sankey: Could I just add to that question? You asked why the system is not robust enough. The main reason for that at the moment is that there is not a proper independent check on it. In other areas where we allow the state to deprive people of liberty, we always ensure that there is an independent check on the decision to do so. Take the criminal justice system, for example. A suspect cannot be held for longer than 96 hours and not without being charged. Within that 96-hour period, a magistrate’s approval is required for incremental extensions to somebody’s detention. At the moment, in our immigration system there is nothing comparable to that. There are bail hearings that have recently been introduced at the four-month stage, but four months is already an extraordinarily long time, particularly for vulnerable people.

To give a quick, illustrative example, earlier this week, the Minister’s Department conceded that it had been unlawfully detaining an incredibly vulnerable Chinese victim of trafficking for six months. This woman was picked up at a brothel after a tip-off from a member of the public that there was a woman there who seemed like she did not want to be there. When she was found, there were all the indicators you might expect for a trafficking victim. She had no passport, she was worried about being in debt to other people, and she had no friends or family in the UK. But instead of being treated as a victim of potential modern-day slavery and trafficking, she was taken to a detention centre and held for six months. She exhibited signs of extreme distress. She had psychotic episodes. She was walking around in her underwear and screaming, and talking about being burned by a man with hot water.

Despite all of the internal safeguards that are apparently in place, that woman was not released for six months. The Home Office has now conceded unlawful detention. These sorts of cases are happening all the time. I can assure the Committee that there will be people in detention right now in that same situation. That will continue unless there is a statutory end date that will force the Home Office to comply with its own policy and guidance.

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

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 14th February 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
Kate Green Portrait Kate Green - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 3:13 p.m.

Q Do you have any concerns about the power that this Bill would confer on Ministers to make different provisions in relation to social security for different categories of European economic area or other nationals?

Professor Smismans: Yes, the Bill explicitly says that. The positive interpretation might be, “Well, actually, we needed that to say we have to distinguish between future immigration and those people who are already here.” The practice of the first instruments that are adopted is that actually they do not make that distinction, so it can be used in many different ways. That is why our proposal is that if there is such delegation, at least there has to be a protection for people who are already here saying that their rights cannot be removed by secondary legislation.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 3:14 p.m.

Q Professor, as part of the3million, you have had frequent meetings with Government in terms of designing the settled status scheme. Can you tell us how effective you think the Government and the Home Office in particular were in engaging with stakeholders?

Professor Smismans: There has been engagement with stakeholders on the practical implementation, for sure, which has been useful. I think it has been more difficult to have any influence or feedback when civil society has said, “Well, actually, our rights have to be guaranteed; it’s not just an issue of practical implementation.” That has been far more problematic. There has been an involvement, but given the state of the legislation and the rules, clearly civil society has not been as effective as it hoped.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 3:15 p.m.

Q I hear what you are saying. In answer to previous questions, you talked about the dissatisfaction with the way the rights have transitioned. However, my understanding is that you were consulted extensively on the design of the settled status scheme.

Professor Smismans: The main flaw of the design is its basic principle: it is a constitutive system. Whatever criteria you put in or however you organise it, the practical consequences can be dire under a constitutive system.

Another key aspect that is highly problematic is that the scheme will, in the end, give you an electronic code, not a physical document. That is highly problematic in practice. People need a physical document. For other immigration statuses, people get physical documents. If people do not have that physical document, private actors will ignore them. Again, the vulnerable will struggle if they only have a code. A private landlord might not make the effort to make use of that code, or might not know how.

There are also huge IT risks. Every IT specialist we have spoken to says it is an incredible risk. Data might get lost. That happens. The data system might be hacked, which will mean that the status of these people will be gone, and they will have to reapply. If that happens, they will not have any document and will be immediately illegal, with all the consequences of the hostile environment hitting them immediately. They need a physical document. That is a key ask, because those with all other immigration statuses get a physical document. Why do these 3 million people not? It is very important.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 3:17 p.m.

Q Thank you for that. You talked about the flaws of the system. There were bits that you had an input in designing or were extensively consulted on, so something in there must be good. Do you think there is anything in there that could be useful as the basis of a future immigration system? What do you like about the settled status scheme?

Professor Smismans: I will not express myself on the future immigration system. That is not my task. the3million defends the rights of the EU citizens already here. Whatever system is designed for the future is a political choice that we do not have to make, so we do not make any statements on that.

In the same way, we say that ending freedom of movement for the future is a legitimate choice, and that is fine. We can talk about the interpretation of the referendum, as the Minister did before, which I heard from the back, but we usually leave the interpretation of the referendum up to you. However, let me remind you that, before and after the referendum, all parties said that the rights of EU citizens already in the country would be protected, and that everybody who was already here would be able to remain here with the status they already had.

The Bill wipes out those people’s rights completely and leaves it to secondary legislation to sort them out, and also makes them register with an uncertain outcome. That is not the promise that was made by any political party during or after the referendum.

Paul Blomfield Portrait Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab) - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 3:19 p.m.

Q That exchange anticipated my next question, which was going to be about the physical documents. In that discussion, you made the point that you were consulted. You have made a very powerful case on the importance of physical documentation. Presumably, you made that case to the Home Office in the consultation?

Professor Smismans: Yes, we have said repeatedly how important a physical document is and that we want one.

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
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Bill Main Page
Home Office
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.

European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Friday 11th January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Jan 2019, 12:48 p.m.

I am pleased to follow the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge). I recognise the sincerity of his remarks even though I disagree with his conclusions. To be clear, I campaigned for and voted remain, and the remain vote in my borough of Tower Hamlets was 67%. I have received many emails since the vote. Some call for no deal, and some support the Prime Minister’s deal, but the majority are for another referendum, which of course is code for reversing the original decision. Some colleagues on my side have said that nothing has changed since the Government pulled the vote in December. I disagree. If they had pressed the vote last month, I suspect I would have voted against, but now I am not so sure, for a number of reasons. First, time is running out. Yes, the Prime Minister has run down the clock; there is no denying that. Secondly, amendments have been tabled such as amendment (p) on workers’ rights, consumer protection and environmental standards, submitted by several of my right hon. and hon. Friends, which I have signed. Thirdly, I supported new clause 7 to the Finance Bill on Tuesday, and having demonstrated that I did not want a no-deal conclusion, I feel I should address what I do want, not just what I am against.

My party’s policy is to call for a general election, and if and when there is a vote of no confidence, I will support it, but our first problem will be drafting a united manifesto. We would also need to delay article 50 and restart negotiations. This could mean months or years in Brussels followed by what? Another referendum perhaps. The amount of time, energy and money we have already spent on Brexit could be duplicated. What has happened this week, outside on College Green and inside this Chamber on Wednesday during points of order, shows just how toxic this issue has become, and it has to end.

We need to make a decision, move the country on and move forward. The impact of the doldrums and uncertainty is undermining business and the economy. Many colleagues have quoted dire forecasts for one course or another, but doing nothing could be just as bad. I have had real disagreements on this at home with family, friends, members of my party and constituents. Labour’s six tests were useful as a challenge, but they, like Gordon Brown’s five tests for the euro, were never meant to be met, in my view. Those judgments are fully subjective.

On the Northern Ireland question, I listened carefully to the intervention from the hon. Member for North Down (Lady Hermon) on Wednesday, as I am sure did other colleagues, in support of the Good Friday agreement and the Prime Minister’s deal. It is very easy to use hindsight to point out that which might have been done better. After the referendum, and especially post the 2017 general election, the Government might have detoxified some of this issue if they had constructed a cross-party approach to the negotiations. Part of Wednesday’s debate focused on cross-party co-operation. There must be scope for a cross-party approach, as so powerfully argued for by the right hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames) earlier this morning.

Our separation from the EU has been described as a divorce after nearly 50 years. Divorces are horrible. I have been through one. There is pain and there are costs. Then we have the playground politics of those who thought—and still think—this would be easy and pain-free. They are deluded, as the Father of the House described on Wednesday. Over 17 million people voted leave, and it was a national referendum, not a referendum in Poplar and Limehouse, not in Tower Hamlets, not even London. The Labour manifesto in 2017, which my constituents voted for, said we respected the outcome of the referendum. The Leader of the Opposition yesterday repeated that Labour would negotiate a better Brexit deal but that we would be leaving.

In conclusion, colleagues may have discerned from my comments that I am talking myself into supporting the Prime Minister’s deal next Tuesday, against no deal and against further delay. I am not quite there yet, but I am not far away. It seems the House is not yet there at all, but at some point we need to recognise that the danger of no deal is still there and that the only real alternative on the table is the Prime Minister’s deal.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Jan 2019, 12:53 p.m.

It is an honour to speak after the hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick), who has been on a journey similar to mine, but from a different direction and a much longer one. If there is anything I can say to convince him to cross over the line and completely support the agreement, I hope I can say it in this debate.

I rise to speak in support of the withdrawal agreement, and it has been a journey for me. I was not here when the House voted for the referendum, I was not here when it voted to trigger article 50 and I did not campaign for either side during the referendum, but I did vote leave, and I knew what I was doing. Contrary to what Opposition Members have said, I was not misled or confused, and I disagree with some of those on my side who feel that this deal is not what the 17.4 million voted for. I am one of the 17.4 million. I agree with the Prime Minister that no deal is better than a bad deal, but this is not a bad deal.

In my maiden speech, I said that democracy was messy. Of course it is. I never expected a perfect deal, and I also knew there would be concessions. Had this deal been on the ballot paper in the 2016 referendum, I would have voted for it as better than remaining. I have received thousands of wholly irreconcilable opinions from my constituents asking me to do things that are mutually exclusive. I have looked at what the best option is to satisfy as many as possible, and I believe this deal respects the referendum while looking after those who have concerns about the significant change we are making in our relationship with the EU. So I am supporting this deal, not because it is perfect or it is exactly what I wanted, and not just because I think it is good for the 52%, but because it is also good for the 48%.

Why do I think that? Why do I think this is a good deal? There are several reasons for that. I like the fact that it avoids a cliff edge, because of the transition period. I like the fact that it gives us full control on services, which are 80% of our economy. I am a free marketeer and, much as I feel we can do well on our own, I like the compromises on state aid and monopoly law—those are good restrictions to prevent our descending into a wholly socialist state. I like the fact that we are leaving the ECJ’s jurisdiction and that we are ending free movement. Even the backstop, which does give concerns, has great advantages, not least that we will not be paying any money to the EU despite having access, via Northern Ireland and in other areas, to the EU market. I represent a farming constituency, and the tariff-free and quota-free access negotiated in this agreement are most welcome. More importantly—this is the reason I chose to speak today—this deal gives guarantees on citizens’ rights, not just to EU citizens in the UK, but to UK citizens in the EU. There are those who want to vote against this deal and speak about the loss of citizens’ rights, but I ask how they can do that, knowing full well that no deal would mean that those people, especially British citizens living abroad, who had no chance to vote in the referendum, would suddenly lose their rights.

People have talked about other options, such as revoking article 50. That is a terrible idea, one that comes from people who think they can wipe away the referendum and pretend it was all a bad dream. That cannot happen and they should think carefully about the consequences. What would we be saying if we, the UK, the fifth largest economy—it certainly was in 2016—with the same population as 15 members of the EU, cannot leave? If we cannot leave, who can? If we do not leave, why would the EU ever reform? Many Opposition Members talk about wanting to reform the EU, but if we cannot leave, why would it reform, knowing that no one else will leave? We need to leave in order to show that it is not a prison but a co-operative organisation and that if it no longer works for people, they can escape it.

The hon. Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck), who is not in her place, talked about extending article 50, but I disagree with her on that, as to do that would be to kick the can down the road and just keep us in this limbo even longer. What happens if the EU says no? What happens if it demands concessions? The EU has said that negotiations are over and it is either this deal or no deal or no Brexit. I am not against no deal, although it is not my preferred option, but I am against no Brexit, as are the vast majority of my constituents. I doubt I am going to be able to change the minds of many of my friends on the Conservative Benches. I am thinking of my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), and my hon. Friends the Members for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan), for Hornchurch and Upminster (Julia Lopez) and for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Michael Tomlinson). I wish we were in the same place, but we are not. However, I am happy that at least the hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse might be coming across. I will take that as a win and hope that many people will think about changing their minds on this.

Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Jan 2019, 12:57 p.m.

When all is said and done, and everything that needs to be said has been said, this House is very good at saying it all over again. Mr Speaker, you could be forgiven for having a slight emotion of ennui, as you have heard these arguments run over and over again. I do not often feel sympathy for the wives of former Conservative Prime Ministers, but Lady Eden said she felt as though the Suez canal was flowing through her withdrawing room and I feel as though the British border on the island of Ireland is flowing through my living room. We have spent so much time on this, but are we any further forward?

Today’s debate has tended in some cases—I make no particular comment here—to go in a slightly bellicose, bombastic way; it is almost as though Palmerston had returned to Romford. I felt that the right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois) was rather more channelling Horatio Bottomley than Horatio Nelson, although I think I understand what his emotion was.

We have discussed at great length the Gradgrind utilitarianism of the EU. I was one of those who voted in 1975 to join the European Union, partly having been seduced by Margaret Thatcher—not an expression Members will hear often in this House—but above all because, as a representative of one of the first generations in this island’s history not to have fought a European or continental war, I felt it was crucial that we looked to the European ideal. In all our discussions about trade, customs, barriers and the backstop, I think we are losing sight of that ideal. I am not saying that the European Union was a shining city on the hill, but it did set global standards for decency, inclusion, human rights, freedom of belief, freedom of worship, interdependence, environmental legislation, workers’ rights, animal rights and universal suffrage.

When Francis Fukuyama wrote “The End of History?” towards the end of the last century, he said that the whole world would sign up for those emotions. He was wrong. There are many countries in the world that do not recognise those ideals or the European standard. We are Europeans, and those of us who are proud to be members of this community and continent should recognise that we have a duty and a right to set the standards for many other people to at least emulate and learn from.

We are surrounded in a dangerous world. We have Kim Jong-un, Trump and Putin. We have terrifying figures all around the world. Closer to home we have difficulties, certainly, with Viktor Orbán, Kaczyński and some of the Visegrád Group, and yet we are talking about breaking up and walking away from a Union that is not just the most successful economic union but an ideal and an example for the rest of the world. Are we mad? Why on earth would we walk away from it?

I am not one of those who subscribe to the chimera—the false promise—of another referendum, which would inevitably be followed by a further referendum and then a best out of five. However, if, God forbid, we leave the European Union on 29 March, we must not forget to make sure that our European brothers, sisters and cousins know that we still have affection and friendship for them and that there is still support and interdependence. Every single Member of this House has a duty to work with our fellow Europeans, to let them know that, although this country may have made a decision, it does not separate us from the rest of Europe. It is a decision that I regret. Many of us regret it—more people regret it by the day—but we will not stop being Europeans. We owe it to those whom we have fought both against and with to look forward to the future as one people. Let us never, ever forget that, aside from all the discussions about trade deals, the WTO and the backstop, there is an ideal of a better, interdependent world of decent common human standards. That was represented well in Europe and it is represented in this House. Let us never, ever forget the debt we owe to each other.

Future Immigration

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Wednesday 19th December 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 1:51 p.m.

Under the new system, all people entering the United Kingdom will require a form of visa or visa waiver. That will probably not start in 2021, because it will take longer to develop the system fully and introduce it. However, the electronic travel authorisation scheme, which I also mentioned in my statement, will apply to all visitors. The right hon. Gentleman asked about cost; we have not yet determined what the cost of the ETA scheme would be.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 1:51 p.m.

As a first-generation immigrant, I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement. I feel that the White Paper represents a move from the 20th century to a much better future immigration system. I especially thank the Home Secretary for removing the annual limits on work visas and on international students: I lobbied for both on behalf of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Anglia Ruskin university, which serve my constituency. Will he elaborate on how removing the work visa cap in particular will give businesses certainty?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 1:51 p.m.

As my hon. Friend will know, under the current non-EEA system there is a cap of 20,700 a year, with some exemptions. The work of the Migration Advisory Committee has shown that such a cap is not in our economic interests, and that it is far better to control numbers in other ways that are more reflective of economic needs. I think that removing the cap will lead to an economic boost, while also making it easier for students who have studied at our great universities to stay on if they can find a job at the right level. I think that that is very welcome too.

Rural Crime and Public Services

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Wednesday 6th June 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

I would be more than happy for them to pay more. Is the idea that the poorest cannot afford 50p extra a month on their precept to get a police officer? The point is that it would be a choice for the community. Many communities would not choose to have parish policing or direct policing, but it is a new option for them.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

rose—

James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

I will take one last intervention, Madam Deputy Speaker, because you will be pleased to know that I will then be concluding.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

Does my hon. Friend agree that many of our constituents have requested the ability to pay more specifically for local policing? Constituents have written to me to say that if the Treasury could not fund it, they would happily pay extra.

James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

Absolutely. I will finish by saying that the local funding formula means that funding is transparent—people will know that the money will be spent in their county. We should still look at the national formula, but the model of elected police and crime commissioners being responsible for the money raised locally in a clear and transparent fashion is the right one, and we should use it to get more officers on the beat, providing greater security and comfort to our constituents.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 6:09 p.m.

Well! That was extremely succinct. I thank the hon. Lady.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 6:11 p.m.

Saffron Walden is the largest and most rural constituency in Essex, with almost 400 square miles of beautiful countryside. However, its size means that my constituents face challenges in accessing public services, and in that regard the vast majority of the correspondence that I receive relates to tackling rural crime. Rural crime needs special attention, because it is markedly different from other offences. In some respects our area needs more, not less, policing than other areas. That is because crimes are often committed by certain groups in isolated areas where police response times are inevitably slower.

The Conservatives are the party of law and order, and the Government have done some very positive things, which I acknowledge. In April the Minister for Housing, my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab), announced a review of the powers to deal with unauthorised caravan sites. Similarly, after lobbying efforts by me and a number of colleagues—including my hon. Friend the Member for Clacton (Giles Watling), who is present—the Essex police precept was increased. The increase will deliver 150 more officers.

I supported that measure wholeheartedly, but it was a short-term solution, and local people cannot always be asked to pay more. Taxpayers are already burdened with the cost of clearing up rural crime—for instance, in the village of Great Canfield, where my constituent Allison Ward wrote to me about fly-tipping, explaining that it had blocked roads and that it could take two or three days for the rubbish to be removed. I have regularly been in contact with farmers who have been threatened, businesses that have been stolen from, shop owners in the market towns who have been burgled, and the many constituents whose lives are blighted by illegal Traveller sites. My constituents Kate Mitchell and Jenny Askew wrote to let me know that, even as we speak, an illegal site is disrupting pupils in the middle of their important exams at Helena Romanes School.

I am speaking today on behalf of all those people, and asking the Government for a fresh look at rural crime with more innovative solutions. For instance, Uttlesford community safety partnership has brilliant outreach schemes. By building networks among farmers, it has enabled them to message one another when an incident requires a rapid response. The partnership is currently lobbying for automatic number plate recognition cameras along an Ml1 link road, the B1383, which would help to trigger alerts when suspected hare coursers enter the area. We would be pleased if that received Government support.

I spent my Easter recess gaining work experience with local police. It was an opportunity for me to engage with what they are seeing on the frontline. I was able to look more closely at how cases are handled on the Athena system and how the police work with Uttlesford Council, and to take part in local and community policing ride-alongs. One day we even had an urgent 999 call—about a naked man running around Saffron Walden. I am only half glad that we did not catch him, as he would have had to sit in the back of the patrol car with me!

What I learned from being with the police is that they feel they spend too much time driving across the area and not enough time policing. They also have concerns that population does not account for as wide an area as Braintree and Uttlesford, so we need more officers because the per capita statistics are not reflective when need is assessed. That is why constituents such as David Kerr wrote to me, quite rightly, to say that police presence is lacking and that is why some criminals feel they can act with impunity.

When I was out on a patrol with PCSO James Graham, whom I pay tribute to for his tireless community engagement, we met farmers who had been affected by hare coursing. Their families had previously been threatened by the coursers. As law-abiding citizens, they have liberty to lose, but those who challenge them on their own land do not. My constituent Tony Rea has often written to me about ways in which the Irish model, where trespass is a criminal and not a civil offence, can be used to stop Travellers trespassing on private land.

What was striking is that due to the major roads and airport infrastructure in the constituency, we suffer from high rates of transient crime, as hare coursers come from outside the county. I have also been told of the bizarre instance of criminals from as far away as Chile coming in via Stansted airport and fleeing before their crimes could be properly investigated.

On my last day with the police, I took part in a multi-agency operation on the Felsted Traveller site to find some wanted individuals. I helped the police patrol the perimeter to ensure that suspects did not successfully flee, and joined the dog unit to microchip the Travellers’ dogs. Shockingly, we uncovered a cannabis factory. This illegal activity on a sanctioned site only fuels drug use in the area and Travellers’ own gambling habits for hare coursing. Despite this, I also heard stories of remarkable bravery, notably where Sergeant Geoff Edwards—only just returning to full duty—challenged seven hare coursers on his own.

I pay tribute to Essex Police and in particular Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, who recently announced his retirement. The police need more support from us in this House. We can help them by looking again at a strategic view of how best to fight rural crime and introducing innovations as they protect our constituents. I would be most grateful if the Minister shared with the House in this debate, or in the near future, any new proposals or innovations the Government have in this area.

Fiona Onasanya (Peterborough) (Lab) Hansard
6 Jun 2018, 5:11 p.m.

By participating in this very necessary debate today I wish to put on record my willingness to speak up for the rural communities and farm businesses that this Government have neglected.

I went to Moor farm in my constituency to meet a number of farmers and members of the National Farmers Union. Farmers in my constituency have said that they are unable to sleep peacefully and are having to constantly dig trenches, replace locks and build gates and barriers to barricade themselves in their own farms. Gangs of hare coursers have threatened their families with violence and intimidation; hare coursing itself has become an almost daily and expected occurrence and damages crops, property and the welfare of livestock.

I ask Members to imagine if the context of a criminal episode was changed and it was shown to be one of us smashing through garden fences, driving across flowerbeds, shouting and gesticulating and gesturing abuse, intimidating and threatening witnesses and even actually assaulting someone. Would we be permitted to continue in that way unimpeded time after time? I think not; we all know the answer would be no.

Those who live, work and enjoy the countryside should feel safe, but these crimes result in deep anxiety. These communities are suffering from a chronic lack of investment in public services. Last year, there were 184 incidents of hare coursing in Peterborough and rural theft cost Cambridgeshire £1,732,174. Organised crime gangs steal diesel and tractors and relentlessly target quad bikes. The theft of high-value machinery that cannot be replaced swiftly puts timely agricultural operations at risk.

My constabulary works tirelessly to prevent the intimidation of landowners, walkers and people trying to enjoy the countryside, but cuts have affected the ability of rural forces to provide time-honoured community policing. Fly-tipping and illegal waste dumping are costing farmers tens of thousands of pounds to clear up. What impact does the Minister believe these unprecedented cuts to local authorities are having on the levels of rural fly-tipping? I would be interested to know whether he recognises the connection between his Government’s relentless austerity agenda and the increases in fly-tipping and littering in our countryside. As a result of these cuts to our councils, the cost of clearing fly-tips is increasingly being borne by landowners and farmers.

The situation is totally out of control, and on the rare occasions when criminals are apprehended, it is felt that their acts of criminality are not being dealt with appropriately. When I speak to farmers, they advise me that even when the police are called, they are unable to respond in a timely fashion. Also, as we have heard today, the police can be intimidated by these criminals. They often have to attend a reported crime by themselves without any support, and that has to be looked into. It is inappropriate for them to be alone without support. They need better support, and the victims of crime should not have to pay. Farms are having to become fortresses, as farmers feel as though they are under siege. There has been a blatant failure to address the real issues, and the situation has now reached breaking point. I ask the Minister to look seriously at what can be done to address the issue of rural crime, in order to make those whom we serve feel safe.

Windrush

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Monday 30th April 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Home Office
Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid - Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Apr 2018, 4:53 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point about other members of the Commonwealth, to which I referred briefly a moment ago. I want to ensure that we are looking at this carefully to see whether we need to take further steps where people are affected. The hon. Gentleman will know about the taskforce that we set up for the Windrush generation. I will not hesitate in taking any further steps that would help.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con) - Hansard

I welcome the Secretary of State to his new role. Like him, I have an immigrant background. I am not a second generation, but a first generation, immigrant. The fact that we are both sitting on these Benches is a testament to how open and welcoming our country and, in fact, our party is to new immigrants. In the Secretary of State’s previous role, he would have been overseeing plans this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving in the UK, so he knows that this is not just an immigration issue, but a communities issue. Will he tell us of any opportunities that he may see for cross-departmental working to ensure that this situation does not happen again?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid - Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Apr 2018, 4:54 p.m.

My hon. Friend is right to point out that there is a huge amount to celebrate about the Windrush generation, with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of MV Windrush occurring this June. My previous Department has done a huge amount of work on that, and I hope to work closely with it to make sure that we have the very best celebration we possibly can to show people from that generation exactly what they mean to this country and how much we respect everything that they have done for us.