Immigration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:58 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 3:58 pm, 26th June 2019

No, I am sorry, but I will not give way. The hon. Gentleman was not here at the start, and I have a lot of ground to cover in just a little time.

Last summer, I very much enjoyed going to Dundee and hosting a roundtable with people working particularly in the tech sector and the gaming industry. It is important that we reflect on the issues and views not just in a range of different sectors across industry, but of course in the different parts of the United Kingdom—both the individual countries of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the different regions.

My superb, I have to say, Scottish hon. Friends may not have the length of service of the hon. Member for Dundee East, but I do not think we should in any way see length of service as a proxy for skill. They have certainly shown not only that they have grasped the issues but that they can carry their voice to Government and talk sense in a constructive and persuasive manner. This week, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has extended the MAC’s commission to looking again at salary thresholds. I commend all those who made the point that we should do that. Indeed, some of them appear to have missed the fact that we are doing it.

Deidre Brock made, to be quite frank, some outrageous allegations. She has called me “shabby” and accused the Government of being “racist”. I reject her very simple and, to be quite frank, nasty attitude on these points. I have spent the last 17 months making sure that we talk about immigration in a thoughtful and humane way, and I have to say that I have gone to quite some lengths to reach out across the House and listen to different views. I do not think that she either listened to or understood my opening comments, when I talked about the record high number of visitor visas granted—2.3 million last year, up 9%—