[7th Allotted Day]

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 1:57 pm on 11th January 2019.

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Photo of Luke Graham Luke Graham Conservative, Ochil and South Perthshire 1:57 pm, 11th January 2019

I do not think the hon. Gentleman has ever listened to any of my speeches. I am one of the most liberal and pro-immigration politicians in the House. To those who want to work here, live here and contribute, our door should be open, and Patrycja is a fine example of that. I welcome her, just as I welcome the Syrian refugees who have experienced racism in my own constituency. In the last month, I have had grown men in tears in my constituency office because of the racism they are experiencing in my constituency in modern-day Scotland. That racism must be called out and addressed in Scotland, in England, in Wales—anywhere it appears in the United Kingdom—and it will be.

We as politicians should be engaging with this debate. My hon. Friends have talked about being honest and direct. That is completely right. The Migration Advisory Committee report is very clear that immigrants are net contributors to our economy—they make a beneficial contribution to our country—but it also recognises that, where there have been high concentrations of immigration, public money has not followed. We have to invest in the infrastructure so that the burden of immigration—in terms of numbers and public services—is borne by the Government, not individual constituents trying to integrate and contribute.

In my constituency, we have formal advice from Clackmannanshire Council, which is SNP-run, saying that the SNP-run NHS—I have the letter here and I am happy to put it in the Library—has to be mindful of accepting refugees to the area because of the lack of GPs in Clackmannanshire. This shows that the SNP has not managed public services such that we can welcome people to our country.

The immigration proposals and the opportunity through Brexit to shape our immigration policies are very important. We do not need to get lost in a vicious circle of negative stories about immigration. We can talk about the positives, as Members from across the House have done. We have a fine opportunity to develop new visa schemes and forms of co-operation with other countries, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary mentioned earlier when he talked about e-gates. We could use our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to go one further and consider a US-style green card, which in the past has had cross-party support, although the green might be a problem—I would be happy for it to be blue, if that satisfied other Members.

Let’s be honest. When we are discussing immigration, we are not talking about faceless numbers; we are talking about real people who come here, contribute and make our country better. We need to break the vicious circle. We have a chance to develop a more innovative and welcoming immigration system in this country. Immigration is a sign of success, not failure, and I hope it will continue sustainably once we have left the EU.