The Home Office have started to announce the process through which EU nationals will be able to apply for settled status following Brexit.
I have been long concerned that the Government doesn’t have the plans in place to give EU nationals – people who are our neighbours, friends and colleagues – the right to reside in the UK when we leave the EU.
There are a number of constituents who have contacted me where they find themselves in the situation where their partner is currently working in another EU nation and don’t know if they will fall within the 5 year residency test the Government is putting in place – but they may have only been away on work for a month.
I wanted to stress that the Government take this into account with their processes to ensure that families are not split up.
Away from the House of Commons I am also a member of the Justice Select Committee. These committees delve deep into government policy and scrutinise the running of the country. Sometimes we focus on extremely detailed and technical matters and this week we turned our attention to the National Disclosure Improvement Plan.
This plan has been designed to ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure that the police follow all reasonable lines of enquiry, whether they point towards or away from a suspect. Prosecutors must provide the defence with any material that undermines the case for the prosecution or assists the case for the accused. Proper disclosure is vital for a fair trail to take place.
Disclosure problems with police forces have been identified by Richard Horwell QC in a recent report and I wanted to know what the Policing Minister will be doing to monitor this situation.
One particular question I had for the minister was if in six months time he would be able to tell me how many of the 120,000 police officers have completed the non-mandatory training created by the college of policing. I pointed out my worries that this training was not mandatory and that the Home Office may be reluctant to provide figures – as they usually do.
Violent crime has risen from 700,000 in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2018. The reduction of 20,000 plus police officers from the beat between 2010 and now shows what happens when you cut the police to the bone.
The minister then decided to challenge me on my record as policing minister. I was more than happy to defend Labour’s record in Government. We had more police officers, invested in after school activities, supported the NHS and ensured that we tackled gang culture at its roots. These ensured that we tackled a spike in knife crime head on. The minister is having to reinvent the wheel after his Government took a sledgehammer to my policies. This is time wasted and lives lost because of incompetence by the UK Government.
G4S’ contract to run the Brook House immigration removal centre has been extended for another two years. This comes less than a year after undercover footage broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama showed detainees at Brook House subjected to verbally and physically abused, amid drug abuse and suicide attempts.
I wanted to know how much to aborted tender process cost the UK taxpayer and was there more than one bidder when the contract came up for renewal. The response I received was muddled. The minister continued to repeat the phrase ‘due diligence’ but was unable to give specifics to my points.
I am concerned that a company has been given the rights to continue to provide this service without the necessary safeguards to protect either the taxpayer or those using the service.