The Labour Party proposed a sensible immigration measure called the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme. This would have checked people coming in and leaving the UK. I was proud to be part of the frontbench team that suggested this sensible reform – as we didn’t know who was entering and more importantly leaving the UK.
Seven years later the Conservative Party has finally announced that it will be copying and implementing our idea. This is to be welcomed and I wanted to know from the minister how much this new scheme would cost the UK Government. I was concerned that the Home Secretary didn’t know this.
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.
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.
It was announced by the Prime Minister that the Government will no longer be introducing its White Paper – which is a consultation document on proposed legislation – until October 2018.
This doesn’t leave very much time for Parliament to debate and amendment the legislation before leaving the EU. If the document is published in October this year the consultation will have to run for around 12 weeks, meaning that the Bill is produced until early 2019. The Government then has three months to get it through both the House of Commons and Lords before we leave the EU. This will no doubt be a contentious Bill and hopes of passing it within that tiny time frame is ridiculous.
As you can hear the rest of the Commons didn’t think it possible either.