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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:11 pm on 28th January 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 8:11 pm, 28th January 2019

I will not give way again, because I am now using my own time.

A lot more must be done about seasonal workers. It cannot be said often enough that a rigid system for seasonal workers will cause untold damage to the rural economy and to sectors such as hospitality and tourism, both of which are vital to my Stirling constituency.

We must also be fair to everyone and enforce the laws that we pass in this place. Will the Minister enlighten me about how we check and measure that people are leaving the United Kingdom? That should be straightforward enough in this data-driven age. It would help us not only to secure our borders against illegal immigration but to support those who may be able to remain but have outstayed their current visas. I have casework to that end.

Leaving the EU allows us to have a non-presidential—non-presidential? That may be as well, but it would allow us also to have a non-prejudicial immigration system that does not simply allow free movement for people from the EU but opens us up to the wider world of talent—to skilled workers, to knowledge workers, to compassionate workers, to people who would make a welcome contribution to our society. Stirling is open to business, to students and to people from across Europe and the world, and I want to see that continue well into the future.

I hope that Ministers will appreciate that we have challenges to meet in my part of Scotland. Stirling is the most beautiful place in these islands to live and work, with doorstep access to Scotland’s great cities and the wilderness beauty of the highlands, and we have secured an exciting city deal that will help us to explore the full potential of our local economy, but we need the ability to attract people to come and make their homes and their living in our communities. The SNP Government do not help much in that regard by making Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK.

I will undoubtedly support the Second Reading of the Bill tonight because I fully support its purpose, but further down the line, when other measures come about resulting from the White Paper consultation, I will of course do what I feel is in the best interests of our country and my constituents.