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European Union Citizens’ Rights

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2019.

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Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

We have certainly had an interesting debate, but it is a pity that it takes place against the backdrop of the settled status scheme. It is important that we discuss immigration and its importance to Scotland. I note that Professor Tomkins intervened on George Adam to talk about a UK minister referring to a “fairer immigration system”, but the reality is that much of the Brexit campaign was dominated by the issue of ending free movement as it was perceived to be bad for the country. As politicians, we need to be able to take that view on board. I think that most of us in the chamber would acknowledge that at some point when we have been on people’s doorsteps, the issue of immigration and the perception that it is a bad thing has come up. However, we often fail to take that argument on board and to acknowledge that it is easy to blame immigrants for a shortage of housing and a failure to get access to the NHS— that is often what happens. As politicians, we need to have those discussions and point out the positive aspects of immigration that have been highlighted in this debate.