Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 24 October 2013


One of the stormy issues we have debated in Parliament this week is the Immigration Bill which introduces a whole range of measures designed to tighten up the rules on inward migration and making it easier to remove people from our shores.

I strongly support the right to remove people who have committed a criminal offence from the UK even if a human rights action is brought and also cutting down on the interminable appeals of would-be migrants. There will also be other measures designed to flush out illegal immigrants as well as defray of the cost of using the NHS.

It is difficult to do much about migrants joining us from other EU countries as the right to live and work in any EU country is very much part of the deal, although we are reviewing access to benefits. No doubt this will be uppermost in many people's minds when we come to vote on EU membership in 2017.

Policy on immigration 15 years or so ago was short-sighted. There was a deliberate attempt, now well documented, to bring people to this country to help us to grow the economy while keeping wage inflation low. Immigration has always been part of our history and has brought many benefits and still does, but it must be balanced and controlled if we are to maintain public confidence. Our systems should always treat people with respect, but we must place a higher price on social cohesion and preserving our British culture.

The coalition government has done well since 2010 in reducing net migration by a third, but we realise that there is much more to do, hence the bill this week. All European countries are facing the pressure of people seeking a better quality of life for themselves and their children; it is not just the UK. This pressure is unlikely to go away in the short term, and this is one reason why I support targeted overseas aid, to help developing countries put in place minimum standards in their own countries so fewer people will seek to come to Europe.

Immigration is probably the hottest topic in my e-postbag with dozens of constituents every week expressing views on this with varying degrees of despondency. If mainstream parties do not grip this, with reason and force, we will leave open a gaping hole in our political space which more extreme parties will seek to fill. And then heaven help us.

posted by Gary @ 13:20