My contribution to the debate on the European Union (Approvals) Bill [Lords], 14 December

I spoke in the Commons debate on Monday on the subject of EU migration:

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I support the Government’s decision to exercise the opt-out. I am pleased that the Government and the official Opposition agree that the United Kingdom should not be part of the Schengen system and that they both wanted to exercise the opt-out.

As an island nation with a neighbour in the Republic of Ireland and with the three countries on our principal island entirely surrounded by water with no land frontier, it clearly makes sense for the United Kingdom to have her own border arrangements. Indeed, it is fundamental to a sovereign people and a sovereign Parliament that one of the decisions that we should be able to make for ourselves is who we invite in and on what terms we invite them in to become citizens of our country. It is a great privilege to be a citizen of our country. It brings all sorts of benefits, as well as responsibilities. Surely that is a decision that this Parliament should wish to make, with the Government offering guidance and leadership, to show that we are in control on this fundamental point.

As the Minister indicated in response to interventions, even though we have opted out of this proposal for allocating refugees and other recent arrivals in the European Union under a quota system, what the Schengen countries do at their common external frontier still matters to the United Kingdom. While we remain under the current European Union treaties, we have to accept the freedom of movement rules. That means that if any other country or part of the European Union accepts people in, they may well be eligible, in due course, to move to the United Kingdom. We are therefore interested directly in how those countries conduct themselves and what they wish to do by way of inviting people into the general European Union area.

We are also interested in the policy of the Schengen countries, which we have opted out of, because the British Government have none the less agreed to spend money and offer resource to police the common external frontier of the Schengen area. In particular, we have committed resources to tackling some part of the desperate problems that the EU migration policy has caused in the Mediterranean, where all too many people commit themselves to hazardous and expensive journeys and then need to be rescued by the Royal Navy and other naval contingents.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend have any idea of the extent of our share of the costs to which he has just referred? Perhaps he might ask the Minister to consider that. As I understand it, it could be as much as £150 million, but, because the cost of providing for Schengen relocations will, by its nature, be ever-increasing, presumably that amount will go up.

John Redwood: That is an important issue and the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee is right to raise it.

I have some sympathy for what the SNP has said. It is a disgrace that our rich and relatively successful continent is facing this huge crisis, with many refugees and economic migrants arriving, and the system is unable to cope with them. We have to ask why that is. Given that we do not wish to see people undertaking such hazardous journeys and that we do not feel that the way in which European Union policy is impacting on those people is decent, we need to influence our partners in the European Union to do something better.

Again, I find myself in complete agreement with the Government. They are right that the correct thing to do for refugees is to work with the United Nations and our other partners to make sure that there is a safe place of refuge near to the place they fled from, and be there to talk to them and to consider who would like to come to countries in Europe and elsewhere and decide on what basis we will admit people from those camps. That is surely the humane way to approach the issue, and it obviates the need for people to undertake extremely hazardous, and often very expensive, journeys.

Only the richest and fittest among those groups can undertake such journeys, only then to discover that the hazards are too great and that they may lose their lives or need rescuing from the Mediterranean. Surely the money that we are spending on picking people out of the Mediterranean could be better spent on an orderly system closer to the place from which people are fleeing, and on helping them to get legal transport to come to the country of their choice once they have been offered that facility.
Such a system would also mean that we could make clearer and better distinctions between economic migrants and genuine refugees. There are, of course, a lot of genuine refugees from a country such as Syria, but different considerations should apply in the way that we respond to a lot of economic migrants who come along at the same time from a range of countries in the middle east and Africa.

Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (SNP): Does the right hon. Gentleman have anything further to add about the unaccompanied children who are arriving in Europe and who appear to be extremely vulnerable and in need of assistance?

John Redwood: Of course our hearts—mine as well as the hon. Lady’s—go out to those children, and such things should not be happening. It is only happening because adults have allowed it to, or made it happen, because children do not normally have their own money or wherewithal to do such things.

Somewhere in the process adults have persuaded or set up those children to make those journeys, and placed them in the hands of people traffickers who may be very destructive towards their interests and their lives. The remit of the United Kingdom is quite large, but we cannot get into the homes and minds of all the parents, aunts and uncles who commit those children to such hazardous journeys, or into the minds of other adults who should be offering care if a child’s parents have been tragically taken from them by violence in the country in which they were living.

Surely the European Union, with all its powerful and rich countries, could do a better job in coming up with an orderly and sensible way of handing help and assistance to genuine refugees who are being forced out of war-torn areas or countries by civil wars and violence. We must also send a clear message to economic migrants that there is an orderly system, and that they are not welcome if they turn up as illegal migrants. People should go through a proper process in the country from which they are coming, or in a place adjacent to that country if they have already started their journey. That would be a better way of doing things.

When Angela Merkel—perhaps for the best of reasons, both because Germany would like a bigger workforce and because she felt very sorry for these people—suggested that many more migrants should turn up, I fear that that compounded the problem. Far from being a caring solution, it meant that many thousands more people committed themselves to hazardous journeys, only to find when they arrived that other countries in the European Union did not have the same view as Angela Merkel, that the policy was not clear, and that certain borders were shut in a rather unpleasant way with razor wire and high fences, because the numbers were simply too great and people could not be handled.

I support the motion and urge the Government to do far more to try to persuade our partners that EU policy is letting down refugees and economic migrants, as well as the member states and inhabitants of the European Union. This issue is of vital interest to us because we want the EU to have a more caring policy, and because decisions taken in any other EU country can have a direct impact on our own migration policy, owing to our current status as a member of that body and as part of the freedom of movement provisions.

Many people watching these awful tragedies unfold on television, or when reading newspapers or even listening to some of our debates in this place, will conclude that as an island nation we can—and should—control our own borders. We could do a rather more humane job than the European Union is currently doing, and perhaps for Britain, that is the best answer.

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61 Comments

  1. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Contenders for the Republican nomination in the US, televised on CNN: 15/12/2015 appear to be moving along with Mr Trump’s Trailblazing/Riding-Point-positioning that the US should be in real war with the Islamic Caliphate and that non-combatants as was the case in World War II ( Churchill was mentioned ..bombing etc ) can be attacked along with the terrorists ( The Enemy ): A different ball game.

    Immigration..into America, Europe and the UK also seen as a means by which the Enemy ( camouflaged sometimes with an accompanying spouse/family ) transforms into a Fifth Column. Of course I am condensing the four hours of debate and journalistic coverage.
    They (the Contenders and the US Establishment ) do not appear to have as yet jettisoned “the homegrown-terrorist-as-victim stance of the UK Government. That is, the young terrorist is not seen as making his own mind up about matters but is influenced/acted upon by the Wicked Witch of the East who “radicalizes” him by a cunning evil spell called “supplying him with information which he is banned from reading in our Liberal Free-Thinking Democracy…in this modern case: via the internet.

    Women though have been liberated to non-victim status as being now equally culpable for initiating terrorist acts. ( A Victory no doubt for Womens Lib yet, I would think, a paradox in ways thought to be Islamic )

    With the backdrop of what appears a fast-moving seismic political shift in American political analysis and opinion, the UK’s constipated and insufferable debates of SNP/ Labour social-pacifists yacking on blind-eyed to unlimited and unchecked immigration vis-a-vis the General Good sound less cute and quaint now and more outright dangerous.
    The contradictory mixture of Pro-Immigration/ Pro-EU-ism/Supporting-our- allies ..Syria speech from the Right Hon Hilary Benn is in today’s light nothing short of a nutmegging own goal for the so-called Right of the Labour Party.
    Both Left and Right of the Labour Party have made themselves into one giant Clown.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I’ve tried google translate but I still can’t make head or tail of this, maybe there are multiple heads and tails and that’s why I’m confused. But are you for or against nutters trying to decapitate random people on Tube stations? Would that be one of defining characteristics of a liberal society, that any citizen is at liberty to murder any other citizen at any time, if that is the way his free thinking leads him?

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        I can’t say why you may be confused.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I thought the much lauded Hillary Benn speech was just vacuous empty table banging drivel. No serious content just empty repetitive rhetoric delivered in a loud voice with a certain rhythm. He told us “Fascism is bad” and that ISIL despise us & lots of other things and are not very pleasant to gays and other groups but nothing much else.

      No explanation at all as to why bombing would help make things better.

      So many politicians seem to have a tendency to say things that are either so obviously true as to be not worth saying (such as we want an integrated, coordinated, efficient XYZ – did anyone want a disintegrated, uncoordinated and inefficient XYZ)? Or they say thing that are totally untrue or just complete and blatant lies – rarely do they say much else I find.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes there is something funny with the liberal elite that runs the West. At the moment we are told by them that we must care for the refugees flooding out of the Middle East and Afghanistan. This sounds quite strange to me. Why are we not concerned about the Palestinians that have been living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan since the late 1940s? A look at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency website shows conditions are just as harsh as any Syrian camp. Also the refugees there, unlike many of the “Syrians”, can prove who exactly they are, many of them even still have the keys to their homes that they were forced out of all those years ago. When it comes to the ME why are some refugees more equal than others?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Dear Rita–May I call you Rita?–The answer to your question is that Israel is perceived to be the West’s only reliable friend in the area, so must be pandered to in every possible way. The treatment of Palestine and the Palestinians over the years (all the way back to the Balfour declaration in favour of stealing their land) has been a disgrace.

          • forthurst
            Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            The importance of Israel to the ‘West’ has rather more to do with domestic politics, particularly in the USA, than any strategic value it represents. On the whole, the ‘West’ is no more adept at picking its friends than it is at picking its enemies, as recent event have confirmed.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            By all the Arab states around Palestine as well as Israel I presume you mean?

        • JoeSoap
          Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Had Palestinians tried to enter the UK, inhabited Calais and tried all means possible to enter our country, I am sure we would have been more sympathetic to them also and catered for their every need. Because they had a certain attachment to their roots and chose not to whinge and make an enormous fuss in that way, I guess we can ignore them.

          I still really wonder what has happened to all those homes left behind by Eastern and Southern European immigrants to the UK, and whether they might be considered first as a temporary refuge for Syrian “refugees” before even considering they should enter this part of the wider EU?

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        One hopes MPs actually listen to one anothers contributions. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting most have already made up their minds prior to debate. This can be good or bad. But given “Middle East” has been a daily narrative for decades in our media, one should be alarmed by a Labour MP who announced triumphantly that “The wonderful speech of Hilary Benn in the Syria debate” changed his mind within minutes from opposition to bombing to being FOR bombing. Life or death for thousands depended, so it seems , on whether Mr Benn had or had not a sniffle/sore throat and whether or not he threw a sickie on Syria Debate Day.
        It appears the activity and inactivity of viruses have much to answer for in our democracy and, following the ill-logic of Labour MPs should be given the Whip.

  2. Margaret
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    At least with children being trafficked and if we can get to those children before harm is done to them, we have a chance to develop them in a way of non violence and kindness. This is an opportunity to show Syria and all how the GB culture is civil progress.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      There are plenty of our own children getting 3rd rate schooling and healthcare before volunteering for any more from the rest of the world. Personally when I see the education and healthcare Malala got in this country my overwhelming thought is why wasn’t that education given to one of our children in a sink school, and why that healthcare was not given to a Brit left to die in a 3rd rate hospital after a car crash.

      • Margaret
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        I know , but these little kids are the future and I cannot bear to think of them suffering

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      If you try adopting one you must raise them in their own religion.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Better still no religion. They can decide their own views based on the evidence of their own eyes later. Rather than through the indoctrination of the young brains of minors.

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Although this is a well-worded, calm, moderate and rational speech on what is a fraught subject I’m sure there’ll still be those prepared to condemn you for it, just as they condemn another prominent politician who speaks more emotionally about it. I must try to find time to read the whole debate, which is here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151214/debtext/151214-0002.htm#15121436000001

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      According to the PM we are all united against Donald Trump.

      So he speaks for everyone now, does he ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        I am no great fan of Trump but the other candidates seem even worse, particularly Hillary Clinton.

        The fact the Cameron is against him endears him to me rather more.

  4. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    “Only the richest and fittest among those groups can undertake such journeys”

    Ah yes…not fit enough to fight their enemy in country or from outside though? Funny that (NOT). And of course they will absent from the recent 34 country alliance possible(?) effort to drive out Daesh.

    Don’t think having foreigners managing your own border is going to be fun either. Another screw up by the knee jerk lunchers.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Lots of emotion about immigration. The real question is this:
    What is it to be English? Answers on a proverbial fag packet (but do not smoke the ciggies please). Which values do we feel we would gladly die for?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Why do you think that is “the real question”?

      It’s not a question that most of the English have been much bothered to ask for many centuries, arguably for over a thousand years since the kingdom and the people were first united by Æthelstan, and with so much historical water having flowed under the bridge since then I’m not sure there is any pressing need to start asking it now.

      • matthu
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Funny, I read Mike’s comment differently i.e. “immigration” per se is not the issue. What is at issue is the very essence of being English.

        So what is at risk of disappearing are all those things we value that have become synonymous with our island and our heritage: democracy, the supremacy of English courts (in England, anyway), Christianity, our British sense of humour. Things like that.

        All of those values can co-exist (and have co-existed) with immigration over the centuries. They cannot co-exist with the rate at which multiculturalism is being forced upon us and in the manner in which it is being done.

  6. Javelin
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Migration pressures will come from immigrants as we transition from petrol to renewables. I believe the Saudis fund Isis and the other extremists to grab the oil
    fields. I also believe the West have a containment policy and not a destruction of the Islamic extremists in the region. Until petrol is replaced by batteries this chaos and immigration will continue from petroleum oil countries whether by war or poverty.

  7. Ian wragg
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Dave with egging on by his sidekick Gideon continue to approve of mass immigration regardless of rhetoric to the contrary.
    We have a large and growing 5th column amongst us intent on destroying us just like the old Soviet Union.
    I spent 9 years at sea, 6 on nuclear fleet boats tracking Soviet movements and they were ultimately defeated
    All that has been wasted by silly politicians kowtowing to an alien culture in the name of failed multiculturalism.
    This will come back to bite us big style
    Where will the hand ringing liberals go then.
    No ifs no buts.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Where will the hand wringing Liberals go then ?

      That’s the one thing we have to look forward to seeing.

  8. Bob
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    The EU has unveiled plans for a new border force with a “right to intervene” without a country’s consent.

    The EU never slow to explout a crisis (especially one which they created).
    Problem, Reaction, Solution.

    • matthu
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      In 2013 Cameron reportedly told a Brussels summit that there could be no question of British support for proposals from Baroness Ashton and the European Commission for the EU to run its own military.

      In 2014 during his TV debate, Nick Clegg then Deputy PM dismissed warnings that the EU was aiming for an EU army as a “dangerous fantasy”.

      Earlier this year (i.e. before the election) the British government said that there was “no prospect” of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army.

      In September, the German chancellor said she would ask the UK to “stand aside” as she promoted ambitious plan to integrate continental Europe’s armed forces.

      Today Cameron not only stands aside while the EU establishes what is effectively an EU army in all but name, but actually proposes that UK personnel will join forces with it. Clearly, plans for such a force were well advanced in any case, so this has not been purely in response to immigration.

      The UK government are the dangerous fantasists here. I look forward to the PM explaining his volte face.

      • Bob
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        @matthu

        ” I look forward to the PM explaining his volte face.”

        Of course it will be as you say, a response the the (self inflicted) “migrant crisis!

        Problem, Reaction, Solution.

        It’s hard to imagine that anyone is still fooled by Mr Cameron’s flim-flam, especially our erudite host.

        The Leave campaign will have an uphill struggle to defeat the blatant dishonesty and chicanery of it’s opponents (which includes the £3,5billion a year taxpayer funded propaganda machine aka the BBC).

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, my current bedtime reading is a biography of Henry VIII, and it is striking how many parallels there are between the protracted and extremely technical and sometimes self-contradictory intellectual contortions centred on his desire to dump his loyal wife of twenty odd years and replace her with a younger model who might provide him with a son who was born alive and stayed alive for more than a few weeks, mixed in with an inflated notion of the importance of England in European affairs in order to maintain a balance of power and so keep the peace, which apparently made it necessary to keep handing over vast sums of money to various foreign powers, and which ended up with Henry having to turn to Parliament to assert England’s sovereignty as an “empire”* and sort it all out with a number of Acts to unilaterally throw off the authority of the pope and indeed all other foreign potentates, despite the diplomatic consequences, becoming “isolated in Europe”, which led eventually to other countries embarking on war and attempts at invasion, and what is now going on with the EU five hundred years later.

    Except that the EU does not yet have sufficiently powerful armed forces to invade us and suppress a national rebellion, as the eurocrats are still working on that one.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_in_Restraint_of_Appeals

    “Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an Empire … ”

    Reply Yes, the Statute of Appeals has been an inspiration to Eurosceptic Conservative MPs. It was simple and it worked.

    • acorn
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but the ultimate goal for neoconservatives is the “Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System”.

  10. DaveM
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic:

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4642219.ece

    At Dartmouth a few years ago I wrote an essay about a European Army, and the fact that (given their current military restrictions and the fact that they are the only country able to finance its creation) the Germans would be particularly keen to create one, thus allowing them to pursue foreign policy under – effectively – a flag of convenience.

    It seems I was on the right track.

    Mr R, would you confirm whether or not the PM has pledged his support for this (as has been reported elsewhere)?

    Reply Another good reason to leave. You are driven to having to help enforce the common border all the time the common b order has an effect on us.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      To Reply:

      Agreed, but is the PM backing it and pledging funds to it? Obviously this would be totally contradictory to one of his so-called renegotiation points about a European Army and about EU interference in areas which are the domain of the UK Police.

      I know they haven’t actually called it an Army, it will be called an “Agency” (!!!), but that is essentially what it is. And if it is a volunteer “agency” and people from the UK join it, where would their allegiance lie? Potential treason charges there.

  11. Michael Walzer
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    An interesting article in the Nov.Dec. issue of “Foreign Affairs” vol.94, 6, p.93-100, Littler England: The United Kingdom’s retreat from global leadership, by A. Menon.

  12. Bert Young
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The measured and forcible contribution Dr.JR made to the House was both sensible and forthright . It certainly highlighted the weaknesses in the Schengen system and the subsequent problem of migrants obtaining the status of free movement .

    What one EU country does has an impact on the rest of Europe and we cannot stand aside and let this influence overtake us . Frankly the approach to limiting immigration by imposing a time related benefits system is nonsense ; we must adopt a much tougher stance and simply close our borders . Those who have a talent and skill to add to our way of life and economy are welcome , those who do not must not be allowed in . The only solution is complete independence from the EU .

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Of course the UK should control it own borders. How could politicians ever have given these powers away without any authority from the electorate? Cooperation yes, but the UK must have the ultimate say in the matter.

  14. Mitchel
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    John Major as reported by Reuters this morning : “He said the renegotiation effort was important but shouldn’t determine whether or not Britain remained in the 28-member bloc”.

    He’s happy with the status quo then…or is he just earning the fees he receives from the globalist organizations whose interests he represents these days?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      As I read that report, that’s because he believes we would always be safer and more prosperous in the EU, no matter what. So he thinks that about the EU as it is now, the so-called “status quo”, but equally he would continue to think it however the EU might change in the future. From which it is reasonable to conclude that his primary allegiance is not to his own country and its people but to the EU, despite the various oaths he took at different stages of his political career.

      Bear in mind that Major not only allowed the EC to start to issue its own single currency, and he not only stood by while all the other member states were wangled into agreeing to join it – the Danish opt-out was only forced upon the Danish politicians and their colleagues in the EC by the Danish people through a referendum after the Maastricht Treaty had been agreed and signed – and he not only agreed that every new member state must commit itself to joining it, and he not only allowed this to go ahead without any provision for a country to leave the single currency and revert to a national currency if it later changed its mind about the wisdom of having joined it, even worse than any of that he never ruled out the possibility of us joining it as well; even while saying that “one size fits all” would not work, his policy was still “Wait and see” before joining it.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        True and how amusing that the same media that used to treat him as an object of ridicule (and occasional pity) should in more recent times wheel him out as a wise elder.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, John Major was proven wrong in almost every direction he ever took and further can hardly even speak in coherent full sentences. Yet he wheeled out by the BBC as if he were some wise elder statesman. Never even a single sensible question put to him. What (wise old man with rather few O level) great words of wisdom would you like to impart to the nation today? This is a typical question from the BBC to him. Never why on Earth did you ever think the ERM was a good idea? Why did you never apologise for the destruction it wreaked? Why did you bury the Tories for 3+ terms?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis–Bring back Attainder is what I say

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        John Major is the reason why the Tories stayed out of office for so long.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Even then we only got Cameron a John Major II but one who can actually speak in full sentences. While of course doing the complete opposite (in practise) to what he says he will “Cast Iron”, “no ifs no buts” do.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I thought the best bit was where he said we would be isolated in the world if we left the EU. Clearly Europe is his world, but some of us can see beyond that.
      Not Brixton Academy’s finest hour.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Can we have the Belgian health system though instead of the crap one we have here?

  16. Kenneth
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I think you are being too kind to Angela Merkel.

    In most cases I believe nearly all politicians are well meaning even if their policies will make people’s lives worse.

    This was different. She must have known as should many others that were encouraging her, that her invitation to accept more people would lead to deaths and misery.

    The evidence was in front of us. The Australian experience and the recommendations and actions of the UK government pointed to the solution. Yet she made this devastating statement.

    She has nowhere too hide. It was immoral and callous.

  17. The Active Citizen
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    JR, I appreciated your speech and interventions in the debate on the European Approvals Bill on Monday.

    However there was a second debate following that one, on the “European Agenda on Migration”. Can we please have your views on something important contained in this?

    It seems that the Government has acquiesced to a very hurried deal between the EU and Turkey which has serious implications for the UK and on which Parliament once again had no say.

    Background:
    Many people would argue that Frau Merkel’s sudden immigration policy since August is either insane, or was calculated to advance German economic interests without any thought of the consequences for her neighbours or any consideration of what the people of most EU countries think. She opened the doors to Germany unilaterally and without notice, leaving other countries to deal with a mass influx of migrants through their lands, which is continuing despite the winter setting in.

    The German Chancellor’s actions mean that the Schengen Agreement is now in tatters and she also unilaterally abrogated the Dublin Regulation. Funny how the German and French governments can ignore laws when the UK never seems to, isn’t it?

    Mrs Merkel now faces a growing discontent within her own country about the 1m migrants who have entered Germany this year, with millions more to come in the next few years. I have no doubt this discontent will grow.

    In advance of her party conference last week – and with increasing calls from her MPs and her coalition partners to set a limit on immigration – she organised a meeting with Turkey, attended by the leaders of 9 other EU countries. The UK didn’t attend.

    The Joint Action Plan with Turkey
    The upshot is that all the EU’s leaders met in Turkey on 29th November officially and agreed the following :-

    1. For the EU (including the UK) to pay Turkey €3bn per year
    2. To accelerate dramatically the process of Turkey’s application to join the EU
    3. To lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens to enter the Schengen zone by October 2016 – that’s a population of 77.6m potential ‘tourists’.

    In return Mrs Merkel gets a promise of cooperation from the Turks to slow down the Middle Eastern, African, and Asian immigration into the EU, which will specifically benefit Germany the most.

    Of course I realise that we need to cooperate and negotiate with Turkey, a NATO member, for many reasons including its role in stemming the flow of migrants to the EU. However it’s blindingly obvious that Frau Merkel rushed this EU agreement ahead for her own reasons.

    Why wasn’t Parliament allowed to debate this in advance? And why did the UK Government effectively push it through ‘on the nod’ amongst some more boring documents on a Monday evening in a near-empty chamber? It’s just not good enough for Mr Brokenshire, our Immigration Minister, to claim that these things affect only Schengen countries. It’s simply not true.

    More power to your elbow in influencing the country to leave the undemocratic and increasingly authoritarian and German-dominated EU.

    I hope you can comment on the above please.

    Reply I too had reservations about the Turkish agreement, but there was no chance of voting it down on Monday.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I wonder how many people in this country realise just how big Turkey is (bigger than us for a start, with I believe 70 million or so people), and that it is a Muslim country? According to the crap so-called “principle” of Freedom of Movement, all of that country’s population would have the right to up and move to the UK. Can it be that there are people who do not see an enormous risk if that possibility were to be opened up? It is precisely because the other 27 members do apparently believe in this “principle” (mainly in many cases so they can come here), whereas we do not, at least so I believe, that we need to get Out. We need to take the road to sanity.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        …and look how they have treated their minorities over the past century – the Greeks expelled,the Armenians subject to genocide and the Kurds bombed.

        The worst thing this country ever did in foreign policy terms in the 19th century was to conspire with others to stop Russia from ejecting the Turks from the continent of Europe.

    • matthu
      Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: John, there is no need to be quite so parsimonious in your response. There was no chance of voting the deal down on Monday or on any other day of the week because, as another MP explains,
      “… the real tragedy is that Parliament was powerless to do anything about it. Even if MPs had been given the opportunity to vote the deal down, it would have made no difference. The debate was a sham. Parliament long ago signed away the right to control Britain’s borders.

      The British people had no say over this deal. Their elected legislators had no say. Their Government had no say. Is this really how we want to be governed? “

    • The Active Citizen
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Yes JR, you had no chance to vote down this unsavoury deal which the EU has done with Turkey, because Parliament wasn’t given the opportunity to consider it in advance. It was pushed forward by Frau Merkel to serve her own political agenda and was agreed by all Schengen Heads of State before you could even discuss it on Monday evening.

      However that doesn’t make this right and we could still shout from the rooftops about it. It’s the kind of thing the public needs to be made aware of as an example of the undemocratic nature of our relationship with the EU.

      Ah no, I forgot… The Prime Minister has already welcomed the deal, hasn’t he? Extraordinary, in my opinion….

      It’s good to know that you have reservations about the deal – I hope they’re strong ones.

  18. ChrisS
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    This morning’s intervention from John Major was certainly not helpful to our side, nor even to David Cameron in his attempt to secure some kind of deal, any kind of deal from the EU.

    It just shows how frightened the IN side is becoming of the consequences of Cameron having failed to ask for anything significant. No doubt the Brussels elite will eventually cave in and give Cameron most of the crumbs he has begged for, at the same time lauding him as a great negotiator and winner.

    In the meantime we must redouble our efforts to driver home the message that the current talks are a sham. We must ensure that voters know that, whatever the outcome, they will gain nothing of substance and all their concerns about immigration and sovereignty remain.

  19. Atlas
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Are you, like me, concerned to read in the papers of an EU border Army being created; and also talk of UK ground troop involvement in Syria?

  20. Colin Hart
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    John Major asserted this morning that even if we left the EU we would still have to adopt EU regulations if we wished to trade with the new bloc. This is not the case. If British companies wished in future to export to EU countries, they would need to meet EU standards; the same as US, Chinese and Japanese companies. It would be up to them.

    But this does not mean that Parliament would have to incorporate those standards into UK law.

    Could someone please have a quiet word with Sir John and put him right on this.

  21. Dennis
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    JR – are you going to enlighten John Major concerning his erroneous thoughts on the consequences of the UK leaving the EU on this morning’s Today programme?

    One point he made was that if UK out of the EU then we would need to comply with the EU regulations for trade so we would have no sovereignty. Surely every country in the world, including N. Korea, has to have trade regulations with all other countries so that must mean there is no such thing as sovereignty.

    He also mentioned ‘fear’, ‘danger’, ‘alone’ etc. without any details of what they comprise. His comments were totally vacuous.

  22. Maureen Turner
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    EU Border Agency.

    What is the thinking behind this new idea for a EU Border Agency and will this body have the right to overrule any unilateral decision we might take to close our borders if a situation arises similar to that faced by Hungary a couple of months ago? Whatever the
    intention it indicates that all 28 countries are slowly being drained of the last remnants of their sovereignty.

    Wake up good citizens and vote to Leave in the EU referendum. It is possibly the last chance we have to ensure our children and grand children inherit a country worth living in.

  23. Ken Moore
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Good speech but no mention of the fact we are a)already the most crowded country in Europe and b)allowing upwards of 300,000 extra people per year is totally unsustainable c)public services standards cannot keep up with demand in good times never mind the current so called ‘austerity’.

    Geographic considerations are of secondary importance. Plenty of talk about consideration for the unfortunate ‘refugees’..but little concerning the working class left on housing waiting lists or seeking low skilled work.

    Is it just me or is there something about parliament that makes speakers become more left wing than they might otherwise be ?.

  24. Ken Moore
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Good speech but no mention of the fact we are a)already the most crowded country in Europe and b)allowing upwards of 300,000 extra people per year is totally unsustainable c)public services standards cannot keep up with demand in good times never mind the current so called ‘austerity’.

    Geographic considerations are of secondary importance. Plenty of talk about consideration for the unfortunate ‘refugees’..but little concerning the working class left on housing waiting lists or seeking low skilled work.

    Is it just me or is there something about parliament that makes speakers become more left wing…it’s like everyone wants to bend over backwards to agree …when what we need is robust debate that tackles the cosy consensus.
    Maybe then parliament will more accurately reflect what real people are thinking and saying…

  25. ChrisS
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    If I were Cameron at the EU summit this evening I would call their bluff :

    I would walk out tonight without scheduling any more meetings.

    I would tell the rest of them that they have had their chance to be reasonable and I will be campaigning for Brexit unless by February 1st they come up with a series of reforms that properly meet the aspirations of the British electorate.

    By that I do not mean the pathetic list I had been asking for and has been rebuffed, but a list of real reforms that properly hand back sovereignty and give us the ability to control the number of citizens of other EU member states that want to come to Britain to live and ( hopefully ) work.

    Oh, nearly forgot, while you’re at it, as part of any deal you can halve of our £10bn per annum net contribution which is incredibly poor value for money considering that you sell us far, far more than we ever export to you.

    And, if you want that huge trade surplus with the UK to continue after Brexit, we won’t be making a future contributions to your overblown EU budget either.

    Are they really going to shoot themselves in the foot ??????

  26. Nig l
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sir, as ever a well thought out, crafted contribution, however in the light of yesterday’s announcement about the number of asylum seekers ‘lost’ plus the hundreds of thousands of people here illegally for many other reasons,my question is , so what? I have no doubt that the current obsession with migrants stemmed from Cameron’s knee jerk reaction to the rise of UKIP, albeit knowing that Schengen is a fundamental part of the EU and if there are changes, they will be mostly cosmetic.

    If you and the Government were really serious about this question the Border Agencies would not be so woefully underfunded. The Metropoltan elite of which the Chancellor is a key member, prefers to commit upwards of £11 billion pounds on overseas aid, much of it to dubious projects, countries that do not need it and, there is a well argued train of thought that actually says this creates a dependency that is counter productive.

    I am not suggesting that we should not make any contributions but if you add in the amount we contribute to the EC, that close to £20 billion.

    If you were serious about inward migration, you would find real money so that the Border Agencies can do an effective job, rather than it being merely political ‘hot air’.

  27. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to spoil the fun, but the topic which won’t go away – I understand Cameron has said he will not ban the Muslim Brotherhood here in England.

  28. adam
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (SNP): Does the right hon. Gentleman have anything further to add about the unaccompanied children who are arriving in Europe and who appear to be extremely vulnerable and in need of assistance?

    I havent seen many of these.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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