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.
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.