Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 28th January 2019.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 5:29 pm, 28th January 2019

I remind Members that I have spent almost all my political career trying to help individuals deal with the excesses of an unfair immigration system. They would not be amused by seeing and hearing Members turn that into some kind of parliamentary game.

The Labour party reserves the right to reconsider its position on this proposed legislation when it comes out of Committee. There is no question but that freedom of movement can work. My parents came in the 1950s when there was effectively freedom of movement between the United Kingdom and the colonies. More recently, freedom of movement has worked well for key industries in the UK such as science, telecoms, heritage, aviation and the public services—in particular, the NHS. For many young people in particular, the removal of freedom of movement will be an absolute loss.

The Home Secretary risks being accused of complacency on the subject of EU citizens. There is still a great deal of concern among EU citizens about what the reality of the registration system will be and about whether the Government are equipped to register millions of EU citizens effectively, and there is uncertainty among not just EU citizens themselves but their employers.