I rise to warmly welcome the Bill, which ends free movement, eliminates the unfairness between EU and non-EU migration, paves the way for a points-based immigration system and, most importantly, delivers on our pledge at last year’s election.
I need no convincing that immigration is and has been a good thing for Britain. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said, it is woven into our nation’s fabric, and we need to continue to attract the brightest and the best around the world. Uncontrolled immigration, however, has placed a great strain on many communities. We simply abandoned any expectation along the way of those who came here to integrate, to speak English and to commit to working and living by the same rules as everyone else. As Tony Blair relaxed the rules, the Labour party simply forgot about working-class communities across the country. It did not listen as those communities struggled for jobs, experienced the difficulties of getting school places and doctor’s appointments, and lived with the consequences of divided communities, which were left to suffer in silence and, should they speak out, risked the wrath of the north London chattering classes who, for the third time in a row, are once again running the Labour party.
Today, the Government are proposing to right those wrongs, and are proposing a pathway to a fair immigration system. What do we hear from the Opposition? We heard Richard Burgon talk once again about austerity cuts. We heard a disingenuous blurring of the lines between those who are here already and those who may come here in future. We heard from Nick Thomas-Symonds that now is not the time, without any indication of when the time might be for a policy such as this. He spoke about lessons learned and the need for the Government to learn lessons, but the Opposition seem to have learned no lessons at all. A lot has been written about how Labour voters abandoned the party in the general election, but the truth is that the Labour party abandoned those voters and those communities many years ago. It is the Conservative one-nation Government who are righting those wrongs and standing up for those communities. I commend the Bill, and I welcome the Home Secretary’s leadership on this matter.