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Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:01 pm on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham 8:01 pm, 18th May 2020

I welcome this Bill as a sensible, measured approach that delivers on our manifesto commitments to the British people to take back control of our borders and deliver a fair immigration system that means that those who want to come to the UK are judged not by their country of origin or by the colour of their skin but by the contribution that they can make to our country. It is undoubtedly true that many immigrants have made a huge and positive impact on our communities, so I am glad that over 1.3 million European citizens in the United Kingdom have achieved settled status already, including many in my constituency, and that reciprocal arrangements have been agreed for British citizens settled in the EU.

I would like to address two fundamental issues. I agree with the Migration Advisory Committee. Many of my constituents work in the health and social care sectors, as do members of my own family, Mr Speaker, in your constituency. Immigration is not the solution to our care crisis; a cross-party consensus is, as is upskilling, training and, crucially, valuing our carers.

The fact that Labour Members still do not recognise that shows that they are unwilling to listen to and learn the lessons of the last general election. This is about the only thing that unites them at the moment. They are united against the views of communities such as mine that they took for granted for so long. They remain an uneasy coalition of citizens of nowhere and right-on Citizen Smiths: two sides of the same coin. All sides of the Labour party remain committed to open borders. While the Opposition stick to this, it will be clear to the citizens of my constituency, from Consett to Crook and from Willington to Wearhead, that they have no interest in the concerns of my community.