The Progress of The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19
The Public Bill, The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 has reached the committee stage in parliament. It is currently being scrutinised by a Public Bill Committee jointly chaired by Sir David Amess (Conservative) and Graham Stringer (Labour) who both sit on the Panel of Chairs in Westminster.
Sir David is a Leave campaigner for Brexit and has some robust feelings on a number of topics; he is a strong supporter of animal rights however he vigorously opposes LGBT rights. He also, disastrously for him, questioned the accusations faced by Harvey Weinstein and had to retract the inappropriate comments which he claimed were made in his name without his knowledge by his office.
Graham Stringer on the other hand, also a Leave supporter, sits in a safe seat and he has mainly come to the attention of the press for his criticism of Labour party leaders and his denial of the existence of dyslexia.
The Public Bill Committee is currently going through the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 line by line and also taking a considerable amount of written submissions from interested organisations such as the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Migration Watch UK and the British in Europe as well as from individuals like Professor of Migration Law, Bernard Ryan.
The Public Bill Committee optimistically expects to be able to digest and distil all the information provided together with the results of its intense scrutiny of the terms of the Bill and be able to report back to the House of Commons by Thursday 7 March. It is to be hoped that there is time for the 15 plus remaining submissions from relevant organisations that have yet to be examined and analysed to be comprehensively considered in the manner that such an important issue deserves. The Public Bill Committee and Parliament has the fate of hundreds if not thousands of individuals in their hands.
The Office of National Statistics released the current migration figures today which reveal that the number of non-EU immigrants entering the UK has risen to the highest level since 2004 and less EU immigrants are choosing to come to the UK. The Prime Minister’s spokesman commented “we are committed to reducing immigration to sustainable levels, which is tens of thousands, the Prime Minister has always been clear that it will take time to achieve that target”. The CBI’s chief UK policy director said: “these figures confirm fewer EU workers are coming to the UK, exacerbating labour and skills shortages across many sectors, from farm labourers to engineers.” He further commented, “businesses cannot succeed without access skills and labour, which is why it’s so important the government delivers a post-Brexit immigration system which is both open and controlled.”
The think tank Resolution Foundation’s economic analyst Stephen Clark observed that “'while UK politicians are seemingly unable to provide any clarity on where Britain is heading post-Brexit, EU migrants are increasingly doing so – by leaving”.
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