Immigration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:37 pm, 26th June 2019

I stand corrected, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I apologise for any confusion caused, but it is still worthy of note that we have had so little contribution from Labour Members today. I am left with a puzzled question in my mind as to what Labour’s position on immigration is, but it is a bit similar to the puzzled question in my mind as to what Labour’s position on Brexit is. I suspect that the two confusions are linked.

One prominent Labour politician of yesteryear from whom we heard yesterday was Gordon Brown, who served an even shorter time in office than the current Prime Minister. He was wheeled out again to tell us that the Union of the United Kingdom is at risk; I am tempted to make a comment about Sherlock Holmes, but I will refrain. Where Gordon Brown and I could agree is that the Union of England and Scotland is at risk, but not for the reasons that he outlined, which seemed to blame the Scottish National party.

The Union of England and Scotland is at risk because this Parliament repeatedly ignores the voices of Scotland’s voters and the representatives they democratically elect. The Union is at risk because, unlike the European Union, it is not a union of equals where the voice of every nation is heard and respected. It is a union where the largest member dominates and constantly imposes upon Scotland policies that are damaging to Scotland’s economy, culture and society. In a series of speeches from my hon. Friends this afternoon, we have heard just how those policies are damaging Scotland’s economy, culture and society. Those immigration policies, aided and abetted by the Labour party and Liberal Democrats, are not only a failure across the UK but a perfect example of this Parliament’s failure to address Scotland-specific solutions on reserved matters.

Our nationalism in the SNP is simply a desire to right that wrong by self-determination. We do not blame foreigners or immigrants for the things that are wrong in our society. We welcome the rich contribution that they make to our country. We know that Scotland’s future lies as part of a Europe of free trade and free movement of people. All the evidence shows that the Scottish economy benefits from immigration. It is time for immigration policy to be made in Scotland, so that the Scottish Parliament can ensure that migration works to the benefit of the Scottish economy, to stimulate population growth and to enrich our society and our culture.