An Urgent Question was secured today by the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee to ask what plans were in place for EU nationals in the case of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit – where we crash out of the EU without any transitional arrangements.
I wanted to know if the UK Government will be using the same criteria they use for non-EU nationals for EU nationals going forward. This would mean that people’s income would be used to block them entry to the UK.
If, for example, a UK national married an EU national their partner would not be able to live in the UK, no matter if they had children or not, if they did not earn enough per year. All the minister needed to do was to reassure people that they will not see their families broken up. Instead she chose to muddy the waters and say plans will be set out in the future.
Let me remind you that we leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The minister has a little under five months left.
I got my opportunity to respond to this year’s Budget this week. In my speech I addressed my deep concerns about the continued austerity under the UK Government and their utter failure to support the people and businesses of North Wales.
It is clear that this was a Budget that included more harm than help for people in work. It continued to cut away at our police, justice and international trade budgets and did nothing of value to unpick the hurt inflicted by Universal Credit cuts.
In an exasperating Justice Select Committee this week we had the Justice Minister before us to answer our concerns about the impacts of Brexit on the justice system.
Before the scrutinising of the Minister we heard evidence from the Bar Council, QCs and others on their concerns – especially over the European Arrest Warrant.
It has become clear that the UK Government is accepting that the European Court of Justice will still have supreme judicial oversight in EU law so I wanted to know what would happen if an EU national fought UK legal action – say extradition through the European Arrest Warrant.
The Minister didn’t know. So I asked what risk analysis have they undertaken and what information are they sharing with the legal profession on issues such as this. The Minister stated that the Ministry of Justice has not undertaken such action – instead hoping that the Home Office would.
This is completely unacceptable. We leave the EU on the 29 March 2019 and the UK Government have still to figure out what the impact will be on our justice system. Loss of the European Arrest Warrant would undermine our polices ability to keep us safe. The lack of briefings to QCs and legal professionals means they will be unable to make the right decisions on law and order. All in all this Justice Committee session raised more concerns than answers.
Following the recent summit in Brussels over Brexit the Prime Minister returned to the House of Commons to deliver a statement on the stalled negotiations.
I pressed the Prime Minister yet again on the progress of securing the European Arrest Warrant. In particular, I raised my concern the if we lose access to this vital tool to tackle crime it would undermine our ability to extradite people back to the UK to hold them accountable for their crimes during the Troubles.
Sadly, I received no solid reply that progress has been made. All too often people focus on the ‘big ticket items’ surrounding Brexit but failed to notice that it also includes cooperation with our neighbours to tackle crime and bring those who wish to harm our communities to justice.