Tier 5 Religious Worker Visas — [Mike Gapes in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:25 pm on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 4:25 pm, 4th July 2019

My overwhelming feeling is that the Minister has been sent here to defend a policy that, in his heart of hearts, he probably realises is a bit of a mess. I thank hon. Members who have come today on a cross-party and interfaith basis and made a compelling argument.

I am sure that the fact that the Minister for Immigration has agreed to a meeting with faith leaders next week is not a coincidence with the timing of this debate. I and many colleagues have been writing to the Home Office about the matter since as far back as April, but miraculously we all started receiving letters only at the end of the week to tell us that that meeting would take place. That may be a coincidence; I do not know. I leave it to the Minister to decide.

It is important that people should not think that this debate affects only Scotland. It does not; our application to the Backbench Business Committee was signed by Members from right across the UK, including some very senior members of the governing party. Given the sheer number of hon. Members who have been contacted about the issue, I would like a commitment from the Minister—a simple nod of the head will be fine—that after the Minister for Immigration’s meeting with faith leaders next week, an update will be circulated to Members of Parliament.