Labour MP Stella Creasy issued a plea for the government to go alter the immigration bill, which is looking to end the EU’s freedom of movement after Brexit. She slammed the Government for using EU migration as an easy way to blame on problems in society.
Speaking during the second reading of Priti Patel’s immigration bill, Creasy told MPs: “Ending freedom of movement has become the loudest answer to everything we hear on the doorstep. No jobs? End freedom of movement. No housing, no doctor’s appointment, no parking? Blame freedom of movement.”
Creasy also said: “It is hard to talk about this issue without being called either a racist or a bleeding heart liberal, but the truth is that EU migration has benefited our economy. EU migrants contribute £2,300 more to the public purse each year than the average adult—and that is including the cost of their children being here, too. They are also less likely to use our public services, although they work in them. We are more likely to meet an EU migrant helping us in our hospitals than standing in front of us in a queue.
“Over the past 20 years, immigration has been on a much larger scale than we have had in the previous 200 years, but, truthfully, however many people have come, this country has never been good at making it work. With every new wave of people, the UK has always been unwelcoming and always regretted it. Indeed, it was the same with the Huguenots, the wave of refugees that brought both my family and Nigel Farage’s family here. When the Windrush generation came, they were met with ‘no blacks, no Irish, no dogs’.”
Covid-19 key workers unwelcome in UK
Ministers who clap for key workers are “only too happy” to back immigration reforms which suggest thousands are “unwelcome in our country”, according to Labour.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Government was proposing a new immigration system in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic which “sends a signal” that anyone earning below £25,600 is “unskilled”.
He dismissed this prospect as he launched a defence of shop workers, refuse collectors and local government staff from overseas for playing their part in the coronavirus response.
His criticism came as MPs considered measures to repeal EU freedom of movement rules in the UK via the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which cleared its first hurdle after receiving a second reading by 351 votes to 252 – majority 99.
The legislation is part of the move towards the Government’s new points-based immigration system, to be introduced from 2021.