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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 pm on 28th January 2019.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green 9:33 pm, 28th January 2019

It is a pleasure to make some concluding remarks in this debate and to follow the excellent speech by my hon. Friend Lloyd Russell-Moyle that outlined the problems for EU nationals. I will be joining him in the No Lobby, because the powers the Bill would give to Ministers are far too wide. It feels rushed, and the slogan of ending free movement has become a theme tune for the Conservatives. Apart from that, we have actually seen quite a lot of consensus across the House on the key question of the £30,000 threshold, and I welcome that. In fact, I welcome the tone of the debate, which has been very positive. So many Members, in press interviews and elsewhere, have been calling for the subject of immigration to be debated in a responsible and measured way.

The key areas of the economy mentioned by many Members were farming, food processing and fishing. I would just mention that while fishing is worth about £1.8 billion to the economy, fashion is worth £35 billion. We must put the various sectors into perspective. The other huge sector is the NHS, which many Members mentioned. My own hospital, the Whittington hospital in the west of my constituency, which most of my constituents use, has a 12% to 15% vacancy rate, put down almost entirely to fears over Brexit and uncertainty.