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Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 1:47 pm on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 1:47 pm, 16th October 2019

Crime is caused by many things, but the idea that crime is an illness to be treated rather than a malevolent choice made by certain individuals has been the pervasive view of those dealing with crime—criminologists and so on—throughout the period I have described, and that view is out of tune and out of touch with what most people in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and mine know and feel.

Of course there are many causes of crime. Earlier, I heard the shadow Minister describe her working-class credentials. No one in this Chamber could trump my working-class credentials, and on the council estate where I was brought up most people were law-abiding. It was ordered. I do not remember much vandalism, and there was certainly not much crime. People lived in relative safety. If we went back to that place now, I suspect none of that would be true. There would be a high level of drug addiction, a high level of family breakdown, a lot of lawlessness and all the symbols of disorder. That is just the stark reality, and it has to be addressed. This Government are trying to do so in the measures they have introduced in this Queen’s Speech, and those measures deserve support because they strike a chord with the sentiments of the people we represent.

I was delighted to follow Mr Betts, who is always a thoughtful contributor to our considerations. He exemplified what was once taken as read: that the duty of people in this House is to make a persuasive argument, to attempt to offer a thesis and then to advance their case. I have to say that the shadow Minister stood in sad and stark contrast to that principle. It is not enough simply to string together a series of exhortations with a beginning and an end. That is not what proper consideration of measures in the Queens’s Speech or elsewhere should be about, and it does nothing for the quality or life of this Parliament.

The immigration Bill is also welcome, although I share some of the doubts expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead. A points-based system is good in theory, but regulation and enforcement was certainly a challenge and we will need to look at that very closely. What is absolutely clear, rather as with crime, is that the liberal establishment in this country is out of touch with the views of most of our constituents. Most people in this country, in every poll taken on the subject, think that we have had too much immigration for too long and that it needs to be controlled. It is not contentious to say that; it is not controversial. It simply reflects what most people feel and know. Having said that, all advanced countries enjoy immigration because it is necessary sometimes to bring in people because of their skills and for other reasons.