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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 28th January 2019.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 9:15 pm, 28th January 2019

Absolutely. My hon. Friend almost anticipates my next point. We have an ageing population, and people are going to have to be looked after. People will live for longer and we will need others to fund the tax base that pays for their pensions, so there is absolutely an economic argument for immigration as well.

As I was preparing for this speech, I reflected on the fact that we begin the sitting day in the House of Commons with a prayer in which the Speaker’s Chaplain says:

“May they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind”.

We stand here at half-past 2 and pray that to God. We say, “Let us take decisions not just to please people but for the right reasons.” In reality, we find ourselves in a position politically in which we are not leading anymore—we are reacting to public opinion.

I make no apology for the fact that I took a very pro-immigration stance at the hustings that night. Tonight, with a German surname, I will walk through the No Lobby and vote against the Bill because I believe in the free movement of people. The sooner that Members get to grips with the challenges coming down the track and the benefits of free movement, the better, because we have serious challenges, and any vote for this Bill would be a seriously retrograde step.