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Future Immigration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:18 pm on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 1:18 pm, 19th December 2018

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement. Obviously, I have not had a chance to read the White Paper, but much of what he said today is moving in the right direction. I hope he agrees with me that one of the problems with discussing migration over the past two decades has been that any time it is mentioned, people immediately accuse those who ask about reducing it of being racist. We have to bring an end to that level of debate, which has led to much of the frustration to which Ms Abbott referred earlier, about the way the debate has been conducted. As one of those who voted leave, it was clear to me throughout that people did not want an end to migration; what they wanted was controlled migration. That is what I hope my right hon. Friend delivers today.

As far as I can see, the core bit that has caused the greatest problem has been the immediate access to social security benefits for people coming from the European Union. That has caused a big problem. Many businesses have, I am afraid, abused the process, getting them to come in and live in often quite squalid conditions, driving wages down for those who have much higher costs. Is my right hon. Friend prepared to deal with that issue to make sure that that is not a way of bringing in cheap labour? When he gets lectured by businesses and by others who say the health service cannot cope, will he remind them that for the past two decades—[Interruption.] This is a very important point.