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Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 3:20 pm on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus 3:20 pm, 16th October 2019

Hopefully, when the legislation comes back to the House, we will be able to fast-track it through this place. We will have even better legislation because we will have had that debate before.

A positive immigration scheme is exactly what we want and exactly what Scottish Conservatives have been standing up for. We must never forget that migrants are absolutely welcome to our country and add very positively to our local communities. I welcome the fact that there will be no discrimination based on where they come from, but instead an open and fair system, as operates so well in other countries around the world.

What is most important about the Queen’s Speech is that when the Prime Minister came into office, he said that his focus was on healthcare, policing and education, and now, only weeks later, we see a bold and robust Queen’s Speech that will deliver in all those areas. That is what all those who vote us into this place want to see: they want to see us deliver in the areas that matter to them. That is in stark contrast to Nicola Sturgeon, who this week stood up at her Aberdeen conference, spoke for 45 minutes and did not once mention healthcare or education. Education was supposed to be what her record would be judged on, yet there are now 3,000 fewer teachers than there were in 2007, the SNP has binned the education Bill, and Scotland is way down in the international standards. But of course, that can all wait because independence comes first.

The UK Government have done well to build our economy. We have the lowest levels of unemployment and the highest levels of employment since the 1970s. It is unfortunate that a report out in Scotland today from the Fraser of Allander Institute shows that Scotland has seen one of the biggest increases in unemployment in four years and a decline in employment over the past three months. It is important to recognise that we cannot blame that on Brexit, because we have seen a completely different picture in the wider United Kingdom.

Before I finish, let me mention briefly the importance of the Union, which was also mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. The Union is the reason I am here, and it is my absolute priority to stand up for it as a Member of Parliament. It is what my constituents want me to stand up for, and that is what I will do. We know the importance of the dividend we get from being part of the Union, whether that is in respect of finances, security or defence. It is incredibly important that we continue to stress that message loud and clear. While the SNP wants to create barriers at Berwick, we want to ensure that we strengthen our ties with the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Queen’s Speech was a clear statement of intent from the Government that the domestic agenda is absolutely imperative—from being tough on crime to levelling up NHS funding, and from ensuring that we have a fishing industry that is ready to prosper to an immigration Bill that will ensure we have the labour we require. These are truly the issues that the people of our United Kingdom care about, and that is—as we must always remember—the reason why we are so privileged to sit here.