Sovereign nations must control their own borders
HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Perhaps inevitably, this has been linked to last year’s historic Brexit vote for, although the fundamental issue at stake was the recovery of accountable national sovereignty, there is no doubt that a desire to see less immigration motivated many voters.
To the short-sighted detractors on the Remain side, concerns over immigration were smeared as primitive or worse, yet in fact – as those of us who voted to Leave know – they are nothing of the kind. Rather, we recognise that the “free movement of people” – established at Maastricht and confirmed in the Lisbon Treaty – is the clearest indication of all that we ceased to run our own country. In essence: sovereign nations must control their own borders.
The majority of Britons recognise that workers and students from overseas, with the skills and experience they bring, can offer advantages to Britain. But we have endured too much immigration for too long. So much, in fact, that the UK’s population grew by a record 513,300 last year, to 65.1 million.
If the present migration levels were to be maintained, current Government predictions suggest that we would have to build a new home every five minutes just to accommodate the new arrivals.
Some charities and think tanks suggest that the true figure is more startling still, closer to a new home every two minutes. Excessive immigration breeds excessive demands not only on housing but on all public services.
Freedom of movement cannot and should not be sustained. It is bizarre to believe the self-evidently absurd principle that each and every citizen of Europe should be allowed to come to Britain. Manifestly, certain controls must be applied, and once we acknowledge that, why should we be prejudiced in favour of Europeans over, say, the Commonwealth or the Anglosphere?
In the future, those from elsewhere that are permitted to come must learn to play by our rules. Unusual foreign customs and habits may offer the fascination of novelty at first, but in the end it is what we share that binds us. For society to work, that which we all have in common must be more significant than our differences. It is in all our interests for everyone to learn and speak English.
We need a new, bespoke immigration policy, global in reach and vision, but motivated by the needs of British commerce, culture and society.
With such a pragmatically designed system, it is perfectly possible to meet the requirements of businesses, but to return to the migration levels of two decades ago. It will, of course, have to be nuanced and sensitive to need, but the underlying principles are very simple: The United Kingdom will control our own borders, the discrimination against non-Europeans will end, and we will make in Parliament democratic, accountable decisions on immigration in tune with the wishes of the British people.