MP says Britain should design a fairer immigration policy
In recent months, questions have been asked as to why there is such a large discrepancy between the number of National Insurance numbers issued to EU immigrants, and the official number of EU immigrants coming to Britain. This morning the Office for National Statistics issued a statement ascribing the mismatch to short-term immigration, as only immigrants remaining in Britain for a year or more are picked up in the official statistics. The immigration minister, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, responded to an Urgent Question on this issue.
In the Chamber, John asked,
“How does the Government justify our present immigration system which unfairly discriminates against economic migrants from outside the EU; and would it not be better, upon leaving the EU, to design a fairer immigration policy with a level playing field for nationals of all countries – some of whom will be better-qualified?”
The Minister responded that the Government has implemented a number of measures which have reduced non-EU immigration.
John said afterwards,
“These immigration statistics remind us that the Government is powerless to control EU immigration for as long as we are a member of the EU. This means it is unable to regulate the pressure on our already overstretched public services.”
“Only by leaving the EU will we gain the ability to properly control immigration, and be able to design a fairer immigration system open to nationals of the whole world, not just the EU. This would allow the world’s brightest and best to live and work in the UK – this would be in all our interests.”
Word Count: 277
Date: 12th May 2016
Notes to Editors:
• The ONS statement is online at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/news/shorttermmigrantslargelyaccountfornationalinsurancedatadiscrepancy.
• In 2012, John led the Parliamentary campaign to get the Prime Minister to legislate in that Parliament for a referendum in this. He organised two letters to the Prime Minister, signed by 100 Conservative MPs, calling for referendum legislation to be placed on the Statute Book in the last Parliament for an in/out referendum in this Parliament. This helped persuade David Cameron to promise an in/out vote in his Bloomberg Speech in January 2013.
• John then tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech in May 2013, regretting the absence of referendum legislation in the Government’s agenda.
• Though the amendment was defeated, it was supported by 115 Conservative MPs. This persuaded the Prime Minister to go down the Private Member’s Bill route and, when this was twice defeated by Labour and Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians, to place it at the centre of the 2015 Conservative manifesto at the General Election.