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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 Adam Tomkins Adam Tomkins Conservative

The answer is that decisions that are taken in referendums change things. Annabelle Ewing and I were on the same side in the EU referendum campaign. We both campaigned for a remain vote and we lost, unfortunately. The fact is that referendums decide things, and one of the consequences of the decision that was taken by the British people in that open and democratic referendum was that we were going to have to change aspects of our law and we were going to bring back control of immigration.

I do not know how long I have left but I will close by talking about our amendment to the Government’s motion, and focus on its final words. It says that we want an immigration system that ensures that the UK is a place that

“attracts the best and brightest talents from around the world.”

Donald Cameron mentioned the RSE, and I should say that I am a fellow of the RSE, although I had nothing to do with the preparation of its work on migration policy. It says:

The UK should promote a narrative of being ‘open for business’ and seen as a welcoming destination for immigrants. It must be clear that, in particular, skilled and talented migrants are both required and valued.”

The RSE has much more to say but, in the interests of time, I will not read it all out.

I agree with much of what the RSE has said and I think that Ben Macpherson does too. I know Ben Macpherson. I know that he is capable of reaching out across the aisle and working with political opponents. I welcome that, and I would like to see more of it on this and other subjects. I know that there is an election on and that we are all politicians, but let us have less of the point scoring and grandstanding. Let us have a bit more cross-party working to ensure that we have a post-Brexit immigration system that works for all sectors of the Scottish economy.