New migration policy causes stress for Labour

The New Immigration Bill before the Commons yesterday carries out one of the promises of the government over Brexit. It takes powers to repeal freedom of movement from the EU into the UK , establishing a migration system for EU countries which will be the same as the system for the rest of the world. This could come into effect shortly after March 29 if we leave then,  but would be delayed for a couple of years were the UK to enter into a Withdrawal Agreement and so called Transition.

The government has not provided many of the details about how the powers will be used. It has stated that it wants to base its common worldwide migration policy on allowing the recruitment of talent from anywhere around the globe. It is likely talent will be defined by a minimum salary or wage for a job the person is coming to accept, but clearly it could be qualification based as well or additionally. Students will be allowed then as now to come to recognised UK institutions to study an approved course, and faculty members allowed to reflect the international nature of much modern scholarship.

Labour decided they could not oppose this measure. After all they had promised to end freedom of movement, and seemed to understand the views of many of their voters on this issue. Some in the Union movement did feel that allowing too many people into low -aid jobs from abroad undercut British workers and tended to help keep pay down. Late in the day Labour under pressure on social media and from some of its own backbench MPs decided to switch course and ask them to vote against it. Apparently Labour changed its mind and felt that the policy would be too restrictive on migration after all.

What criteria would you want the government to use when deciding who can gain entry to work here? This legislation takes back control, but leaves many questions unanswered about how exactly we should use the new powers we gain once we have left the EU.


  1. Tom Rogers
    January 29, 2019

    We don’t need any immigration (beyond business visits and tourism). We have too many people settled here already, and we have a huge potential skills base that could be used if employers invest a little bit of time and money in training. The whole debate is false and based various canards that we ‘must’ have economic growth [why?] and we ‘must’ have more and more people in order to have skills [why?]. Immigration (along with other reforms) has undermined low-/unskilled employment opportunities that were normally a first step on the ladder and it has also harmed skilled opportunities. We don’t need either type of immigration.

    As a minimum starting-point, the government should now make the symbolic announcement that the era of mass immigration is at an end and a determined and concerted effort will now be made to bring net immigration down to below 5,000-per-annum within the next five years, and even a negative figure, if possible. The government should declare that it expects to be held to that commitment, and with that in mind, should devote the necessary resources – including a national border police, if needed.

    The government should also, as another early step, commit to terminating the receipt of foreign fees in tertiary academia. It’s against the national interest, for a number of reasons. This is one of those issues that is interlinked with other domestic issues – the government should tell the academic community that ‘new’ universities must convert back to polytechnic status and revert solely to offering vocational education in the technical professions (engineering, advanced crafts) and the trades. If they don’t like it, they can close. Students who can’t get top A-levels can either enter the professions at 18 via articles or they can go into industry or the trades.

    Where, in exceptional cases – such as certain areas of science and academia – it is considered that specialist immigration is needed, this needs to be carefully controlled to prevent abuses. Where the business community believes that we need a small amount of immigration to fill national, sub-national or regional skills gaps, the criteria should be ethnic and racial. We should only accept people from British Heritage communities (i.e. Canada, Australia and New Zealand) or from north-western European countries. This is not because we’re ‘racist’, but in the interests of long-term social cohesion.

    1. A different Simon
      January 29, 2019

      The collective wisdom of the population as a whole has decided that a birth rate below the replacement rate is the sensible thing . Same thing in Scandinavia .

      This is the ultimate democratic decision .

      HM Govt should not be allowed to undermine this by importing people from overseas to not just maintain population levels but actively increase them .

      With automation , globalisation , computerisation the fact is less people are needed and will be needed going forward . Parliament cannot be so stupid as to fail to recognise this .

      J.R. , maybe this could be incorporated in the act ?

      – “That the population of the UK will decide future populations collectively by their own reproductive habits and HM Govt will not seek to override the peoples decision by net immigration”.

    2. Hope
      January 29, 2019

      Good grief JR. May recently made a big issue over immigration linking it to her servitude plan. She also confirmed tens of thousands was the target. Within in weeks there is no target whatsoever. Migration bodies view this policy as increasing immigration! Each new policy shows your govt unfit to govern.

      This is another complete New Labour policy with bells attached. UN migration pact means the U.K. has devolved power to the UN. The servitude plan allows further immigration, as there is no end date to the plan AT the moment, with all EU citizens and descendants have the right for ECJ applying to them!

      Your party is responsible for the highest immigration in history. It is also responsible for the highest loss of illegal immigrants in history. Your got has failed to implement 400 detention orders for those coming back from acting as jihadis abroad, despite much rhetoric about new laws and powers. Your govt was told at no stretch of the imminagination are therefore secure borders. Your govt was in charge when there were attrocities committed by people coming in and out of the country.

      Javid wants more people in the community while waiting applications to be vetted! I wonder if they will disappear like the hundreds of thousands under May and Rudd? Javid should resign. He is not up to the job. We saw as business secretary his failings over steel industry at Port Talbot, we saw as community secretary his failings over huge tax hikes to us with failing public services and no reforms and nothing done about the mass rape and torture of white girls as young as 11 years old across the country. How many convicted?

      Good grief have the decency to admit the Tories need to stand aside. It is a party of followers, virtual signallers and shysters, not leaders. Game is up. Another capitulation by May in this policy. Your has followed left wing policies, followed EU regs, directives and laws. Your govt is incapable of leading anything.

    3. Hope
      January 29, 2019

      Cooper represents a 2:1 leave constituency and promised not to block Brexit during her election campaign. Compare with her amendment today. Why are these MPs not sacked? Right to recall. There needs to be accountability for what they say and deliberately act against. Why are the MSM not al over this condemning her?

      1. Lifelogic
        January 29, 2019

        Because the MSM are almost all pro remain, lefties and thus on Cooper Ball’s side (so against the 17.2 million). Cooper and Boles are yet more Oxford PPEs it seems.

        Should the course be closed down in the nation interests of getting better MPs? Some MPs seem very keen to get a 50/50 gender mix what about a few more numerate people, scientists and engineers and far fewer Lawyers, “green crap consultants” & PPE or Geography dopes please.

        Then again perhaps the current lot PPE undergrads are better than the ones who aspired to the course 20 to 40 years back – hopefully anyway.

    4. Merlin
      January 29, 2019

      I think immigration is a very difficult issue – and always has been.

      Even in countries like Japan, where the population is very old and there is a desperate need for foreign carers, there is still great hostility to immigration. Consequently, they are smuggling them in under temporary work visas and claiming they will return home, while knowing this is not the case.

      The problem is that nearly all the developed nations require high levels of immigration but their populations are very hostile to the idea. So maybe a system where ‘immigration’ is 5,000 a year (as Tom above suggests), accompanied with 240,000 work visas where people can apply for citizenship later. This might bridge the gap.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        January 29, 2019

        Why is this issue always linked to carers. Emotive, we should care for our own.

        1. Merlin
          January 30, 2019

          Of course. But, what if like Japan, we don’t have enough?

    5. Chezza
      January 29, 2019

      In an ideal world (ie England for me) yes – but unfortunately I believe big business along with socialists want to destroy the nation state and turn us all into mixed race clones – the former to pay lower wages and make sure the only thing we have in common is that we are consumers, the latter because they are unthinking – there is no diffrence now in the main parties in their push for more immigrants – whatever they say

  2. Cheshire Girl
    January 29, 2019

    Only if they have skills that we are short of. My late Husband applied to go and work in the USA in 1969. His Company wanted him to set up an office in New York. They had to prove that he was going out there to do a job that they couldnt find a American to do. Despite being uniquely qualified he was turned down twice. Eventually he was granted a Green Card and allowed to go out there.
    We lived in the USA for fifteen years and my Husband had a very successful career and was very highly regarded by some ‘household name’ companies.
    My point is, we should only take those who are going to benefit the UK. I’m not sure that’s happening at the present time.

    1. A different Simon
      January 29, 2019

      Cheshire Girl ,

      There will be young people who spot a shortage of a skill in the market and borrow £50-60k of student debt to get a degree necessary for them to apply for that job .

      If we have a shortage in a particular area and HM Govt decides to fill it by fast tracking workers from overseas then it i) prevents the internal market mechanism from sending a signal to people to skill up and ii) leaves those brave people who invested to skill up with £50-60k of debt they cannot service .

      Unfortunately HM Govt has endeavoured to import cheap labour from abroad to turn skills shortages into a surpluses to depress wages .

    2. Hope
      January 29, 2019

      No mention of the UN migration pact this govt signed us up to. Why not JR?

      1. hefner
        January 29, 2019

        It is not legally binding, it is a so-called Migration Compact. Individual countries keep their own immigration policies. It just asks the signatories to improve co-operation on international migration matters.

        1. Hope
          January 30, 2019

          Thanks Hef, I know what it says and why so many countries refused to sign it. They made it clear this is a policy decision for nation states. I do not accept that nation will not shape their policies around this awful pac or fell pressured to do so after signing it.

      2. L Jones
        January 29, 2019

        Yes, Hope. I was thinking the same. There is a petition, still active, and still collecting signatures, even though Mrs May snuck over to forrin parts to stick her moniker on it back in December. It says: ”The Petitions Committee decided not to debate this petition.” Oh, that’s all right, then.

    3. Dame Rita Webb
      January 29, 2019

      In other words we need Ellis Island rules i.e. you were only admitted into the United States, at the beginning of the last Century, if you were fit and healthy, not a criminal and not depriving a native born of a job either. There is also no help from the state, it is either rely on charity or go back home. While if you have any extreme political views and you want to cause trouble its immediate deportation with no appeal.

      1. Adam
        January 30, 2019

        That is a sensible basis for any country intending to sustain standards.

    4. Iain Gill
      January 29, 2019

      yes correct.

      Visas like Intra Company Transfer visas need to be changed to include the resident labour test, as they are routinely abused. A small number with genuine skills unique to that company would be ok, but tens of thousands are coming in with nothing but generic skills already in oversupply.

      1. libertarian
        January 30, 2019

        Iain Gill


        We have 833,000 unfilled jobs

        1. Iain Gill
          January 31, 2019

          Simply untrue.

          In my own industry I know hundreds of people directly out of work and swapped out with recent imports, and thousands if you consider their friends too.

    5. Rien Huizer
      January 29, 2019

      Mr Redwood,

      For someone not currently residing in the UK, but entitled to do so under EU rules, the answer to your question must be intwo parts.

      First, what would it do to me and second what would be best for the Uk (from a socioeconomic PoV)

      As for myself, as a retiree I would like, as a minimum to benefit from visa free travel for leisure, family and occasional academic visits. I would slo like to retain the possibility to live (part time) in a house in the UK that I might own or rent. I would not expect to have health or social benefits except those available on a reciprocal basis with my own health insurance provider. If I were still of working age, I would expect to be treated under any system of reciprocity the UK and EU might agree.

      For the UK, it would be a good idea to make it possible for students and professionals to continue working in the EU (with an individual permit structure, not automatic as per the status quo).

      Entry into the UK could be organized along similar lines as Australia, points system, scheme for affluent retirees and a path to permanent residence for the very wealthy. No distinction between people from the EU and people from other jurisdictions (except the Irish) . Preferential treatment of people from non-EU countries should be avoided and a firm obstacle to any sort of amicable future relationship, of course.

      1. libertarian
        January 30, 2019



        I travel for business, leisure and educational visits, I also own a home All in the USA . I dont need a supranational empire run by mercantile dinosaurs in order to do that.

        It takes 5 minutes and a few dollars to fill out an online form to achieve what I want.

  3. Anonymous
    January 29, 2019

    Migration criteria:

    A similar system to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Migration at the levels that are good for the country.

    No welfare for newcomers. No state top ups for workers – just pay commensurate with a balanced population. Otherwise we have state subsidised businesses inflicting social pressures on our country whilst telling us the EU is good for us.

    Where people won’t do the jobs cut their welfare and force them to do it.

    Criminal checks. Severely restricted migration from countries that do not keep proper records and are in states of turmoil.

    Andy will doubtless have a fit of the vapours over this but all I’m proposing is sensible conservatism. Andy is a Liberal and his pretence that he is a conservative (a form of May-ism) caused Brexit.

    This is what happens when you ignore your voters year in year out.

    Crime now at record levels because the Tories don’t believe in conservatism.

    The Tories caught out over Brexit. A shortage of food likely because Chairman May has spent two and a half years trying to keep us in the EU.

    God knows what is going to happen next.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      Crime is indeed rising. Not really surprising the police have largely given up on almost all crimes and there are very few real deterrents in the system at all. The police even actually announced it had given up on shoplifting under £100. To augment such activity greatly one assumes. How many under £100 items can one manage to steal in a day I wonder?

      Unless it is something vital (like Boris Johnson compairing religious garb to post boxes) or saying something daft online and then of course their hate crime ‘experts’ jump into action and even the dire Ms Dick gets involved in making bizarre statements at her press conferences.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      January 29, 2019

      No welfare or in work top ups (welfare by any other name) for any immigrant worker (and very limited criteria for other immigrants/genuine asylum seekers subject to stringent checks). This is the key. Why import (relative) poverty.

      50% of disabled people are employed. 90% of non disabled people are employed. The gap represents over 2 million people, already here, many of whom have the skills companies require.

      A poster makes the point above that immigrant workers are blocking entry level jobs. Where is the long term benefit to the UK in that? My teenaged daughter can not find a Saturday job, again where is the long term benefit to the UK in that.

    3. Mike Stallard
      January 29, 2019

      “No welfare for newcomers.”
      So you go to the local church centre and there is the Manager trying to comfort a young Mum with a toddler crying up at her and a baby in her arms. She has been kicked out of the house because her “husband” has found a better soul mate. She is therefore homeless.
      So Philip and Murray sit in the centre with Prince (aged 8?) and his younger two siblings. They are happily chewing a sandwich which Christian charity has provided. Tonight the whole family is going to sleep in the bushes in the school playing field.

      What do you propose to do?

      And how will you live with yourself afterwards?

      1. Ian wragg
        January 29, 2019

        Deport the husband to start with and send mother and baby back home.
        I lived and worked overseas for 22years and had to leave within 90days of the end of contract.
        Were far to soft.

      2. Jagman84
        January 29, 2019

        If this scenario concerns you so much, you could, theoretically, invite them into your home. Virtue signalling at the expense of others (and open borders with a welfare state) is not a sustainable model.

      3. David
        January 29, 2019

        @Mike Stallard
        Either a)Insist that all newcomers pay insurance to cover them for this no insurance and they are not allowed.
        b) tell them to go their embassy and ask for an emergency loan to be repatriated.

      4. Anonymous
        January 29, 2019

        @ Mike Stallard

        Do you think the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians should face the same guilt trip as you want me to ?

        Do you give of yourself sacrificially ? Is there any spare left for you ? Because if there is then how do you live with yourself ? You have left a mother and child wanting somewhere – there is no end to poverty needing your charity, yet you are not on the streets. One expects that your comfort is way beyond the class of people in our country of whom you demand share the most.

        I would never dream of going to another country and expecting welfare or health care.

        Our good will has been exhausted by decades of abuse abetted by our own political class – for every mother with child we see a boatload of pushy young men.

        Our very civilisation is on the brink. Brexit is but one manifestation of this fact.

        1. Anonymous
          January 29, 2019

          And to anyone recoiling at my comments in horror, ask yourselves – what do you give of yourself ?

          What I cannot stand is the hypocrisy of those who order others to do their charity for them. REAL full time, unpaid, sacrificial charity and sharing – in the form of losing housing and services and not causing trouble about it. Not just turning out once in a while for a bit of feel good and then scuttling back to your middle class enclaves.

          The ruling elites have opened up our borders and never gave us a vote on it. Now that we have voted in some proximity to “put a brake on immigration” they choose to delegitimise our vote with false accusations of nastiness.

          We are ALL protectionists. Especially Andy.

        2. margaret howard
          January 30, 2019


          “Do you think the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians should face the same guilt trip as you want me to ?”

          They are all immigrants nations themselves who took ‘their country’ from the native inhabitants.

          1. a-tracy
            January 31, 2019

            From the national archives “When Captain Cook visited in the late 1700s it is estimated that there were about 750,000 Aborigines. By the 1920s this number had fallen by around 90%.” Some anthropologist believe they could have arrived as a result of the earliest human migrations out of Africa, The population shrank from those present when colonisation occurred in 1788 to 50,000 in 1930; this was primarily due to an outbreak of smallpox.

            Now there are 24.6 million people in Australia. Following history, when the first immigrants arrived did they get housing, benefits, healthcare. I think everyone supports reasonable levels of migration, as you say everyone in the World was an immigrant once but that 24.6 million didn’t appear in too short a time window did they.

      5. Narrow Shoulders
        January 29, 2019

        In my (extensive) experience the mum has left the father once she is in the country.

        I will live with myself very well thank you Mike

      6. dame rita webb
        January 29, 2019

        Perhaps the father can be reminded that his right to remain in the UK is dependent on him fulfilling his duties to his wife and kids? We have enough feckless of our own without having to support his lifestyle choices as well.

      7. a-tracy
        January 29, 2019

        Both good questions, you give them immediate and short term charity and the airfares to go home to their families. You apply an attachment of earnings order to the father’s wages and agree to pay it across to her back in her nation state a reciprocal arrangement if possible.

      8. a-tracy
        January 29, 2019

        How many cases do you deal with each month like this Mike?

      9. Andrea Wood
        January 29, 2019

        She goes back home to her parents and asks for their help. Since when has the state become responsible for everything and everyone? It’s completely unsustainable.

      10. Andrea Wood
        January 29, 2019

        And the husband, new soulmate or no soulmate, has money deducted from his salary every month to pay for the children he has already fathered.

      11. nhsgp
        January 29, 2019

        Well, its quite simple. The husband has sponsored the wife, so he is forced to pay.

        Or the church, or others, socialists for example, put their hands in their wallets and pay.

        But what you don’t do is is take money from the working poor, not allow them any right of consent, with violence if needed so you can spend their money because you think you know best.

        Consent matters. How can you live when you don’t believe in consent? To ask you the question in the way you ask others.

  4. Wilfrid Whattam
    January 29, 2019

    I would have thought that ‘taking back control’ would allow any Labour Government to choose whatever tightening/relaxation it felt appropriate. So, why the concern? Control of borders is a fundamental need for any sovereign peoples. It can be exercised in a humane and sensible manner. As a left winger, I despair at Corbyn’s weakness in the face of challenges (I particularly think here of the antisemitism definition, which was really about the Blairite rump continuing to use any vehicle to undermine Corbyn). Please keep us informed with your sense.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      January 29, 2019

      If correct, it is interesting that the volte face was driven by social media pressure, a vocal but vociferous minority that is wholly unrepresentative of the population.

      Corbyn, trying to stay in with the cool kids.

    2. Iain Gill
      January 29, 2019

      Dianne Abbott has already made clear that she plans complete open doors, she has done several “announcements” on it

  5. Mark B
    January 29, 2019

    Good morning – again

    What criteria would you want the government to use when deciding who can gain entry to work here?

    A criteria that is fair, is based on the needs of the UK and then what the would be immigrant has to offer.

    They should not have a criminal record.

    They should have the means to support themselves and any dependents.

    They should have private medical insurance for themselves and any dependents, either provided by themselves or their employer.

    They should be asked to sit a simple test to establish their English. eg A page from Shakespeare.

    The minimum wage should be increased to £50,000. All those below that can be granted a 6 month stay but, so long as they meet all the above criteria first.

    They cannot be considered for citizenship until they have lived here for at least five years and contributed to the economy for the whole of that time.

    I believe these to be both fair and reasonable.

    1. Hope
      January 29, 2019

      JR, fails to mention that under Ma’ys servitude plan there is no idea how long it will last. While ongoing, which could be years, all EU citizens will have all rights as now, house, benefits, a ECJ etc etc.

      I also note that immigration outside the EU over the last five years has not been controlled whatsoever. Look at the numbers.

    2. Iain Gill
      January 29, 2019

      qualifications from countries where cheating and bribes are routine in their universities should be ignored

  6. Mick
    January 29, 2019

    I see that woman sourbry voted against it she should be booted out of your party and go join the lib/dems or labour if they have her

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      Alas about 2/3 of Tory MPs are Libdems, certainly that includes or included May and Hammond and about 80% of the current Cabinet, Hammond, Clarke’s x2, Osborne, Cameron, Major, Heath. One assumes they only joined the Tories as they did not think they would get a seat as a Libdim and the nicer places to live tend to be in Tory seats. They certainly like increasing taxes at every turn to the highest for 40 years.

      The 200 who voted their confidence in T May are clearly all deluded Libdim as are the 202 who voted for her vassal state surrender ‘deal’.

  7. Ian wragg
    January 29, 2019

    A subtle change of tone. If we leave in March.
    Not going to happen is it.

    1. piglet
      January 29, 2019

      Yes, it screamed off the page to me, too. Looks like John is having his arm twisted over the latest ‘compromise’.

      Reply Untrue

      1. eeyore
        January 29, 2019

        There is indeed a possibility that the House will devise a way to sabotage Brexit. JR is just being realistic.

        The best way to avoid it is to let our MPs know they will lose support if they renege on their solemn pledges. We cannot leave the fight to Brexit’s champions in Parliament. We must all do our best.

      2. acorn
        January 29, 2019

        I haven’t spotted JR’s moniker on any of the seven motions chosen by the Speaker. Keep your eyes on the names in the division lobbies on Hansard. Hypocrisy rules OK.

        Remember the “prime directive” of the Conservative Party – in Star Trek terms – “THIS UNIT MUST SURVIVE”, regardless of its internal divisions and the UK proletariat’s ideologically austeritised economy. Government of the 99% for the 1% by the 1%.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      It does not look likely under remainer, serial liar and socialist traitor T May does it? Say one thing and do the complete opposite at every turn and then they they wonder why they are held in such complete contempt.

      The next U turn from her will be we are not actually leaving on March 29th!

    3. Iain Gill
      January 29, 2019

      well said

      absolute disgrace

      he should be chaining himself to the fence if it doesnt happen, suffragette style

  8. Roy Grainger
    January 29, 2019

    Speaking on behalf of Angry Andy I’d say it’s vitally important that the children of rich middle-class Southern voters be allowed to go to Europe on their gap years to do some nominal light bar work and so we should offer reciprocal opportunities to EU applicants.

    1. James
      January 29, 2019

      We just need a sensible system like Australia and New Zealand, that allows entry to trades and skills that are needed.

    2. Ian wragg
      January 29, 2019

      And the thick white Brexit pensioners could be sent to mainland Europe for ‘re educating. I think thats been done before.

      1. agricola74
        January 29, 2019

        There is a vast difference between the EU and the cou tries and people of Europe. Anyone who has lived in Europe could tell you this.47

    3. Dame Rita Webb
      January 29, 2019

      Thats a fair swop! We get in exchange their otherwise unemployed and members of their criminal classes, with a right to unlimited non contributory benefits and to bring the rest of their families for an unlimited stay.

    4. Helen Smith
      January 29, 2019

      Please don’t think all southerners are rich or voted Remain. I campaigned for Leave because I love my fellow Brits north and south and especially our fishermen.

  9. Lifelogic
    January 29, 2019

    What criteria? Well we should look at applicants in the round, their ability, age, health, family circumstances, qualifications, wealth, criminal record, will they be investing in the UK and creating jobs, will they use state or private schools, state of private medicine. Are they or their family likely to be or become a financial burden on other tax payers, are their skills in real demand….. In short we need a sensible points based system, but May ruled out a points based system for some idiotic reason or other.

    T May said “What the British people voted for on 23 June was to bring some control into the movement of people from the European Union to the UK. A points-based system does not give you that control.”

    Well that clearly depends on the design of the points based system you dope! One could adjust the point scores needed so as to control numbers. You could for example let in only the top 10 point scorers or the top 200,000+. Clearly such logic is totally beyond the grasp of Theresa May types.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      It certainly should not be a racist, “EU good” everyone else bad system as we have currently and would continue for years and years if May gets her appalling non Brexit surrender “deal”.

  10. Dominic
    January 29, 2019

    It looks like JR’s given up the ghost on Brexit. I read this article with a sombre mood as I could see that contained within it is a tacit admission that this evening the British voter will be betrayed by a cabal of offensive MPs

    Immigration? Views on immigration? It doesn’t matter any more. What we say now is of no significance. The dam’s been broken by New Labour and planned wholesale demographic change using inward flows of people will change the UK forever

    Since New Labour came to power in 1997 they have worked hard to change the fundamental nature of the UK to suit their political and electoral requirements

    Just composing this response puts us all in a self-censoring mode. I can feel myself holding back about what needs to be said about this issue. This is what Labour have done to our freedoms. That I have to self-censor before I type into a public forum

    Politicians have done huge damage to the fabric of this nation using mass immigration to suit their political and electoral needs

    Reply Try reading this blog. I have written endlessly about the Brexit votes and set out my views again over the week-end. I handle many other subjects on behalf of my constituents and need to talk about those as well. I have not given up on Brexit and will write again if my view changes, but I also need to write and wish to write about other things as well.

    1. John C.
      January 29, 2019

      I think nearly all immigration talk is somewhat dated now. The horse has bolted long ago and we still discuss how to close the stable doors. Demographics indicate the future.

  11. Andy
    January 29, 2019

    Of course you fail to mention that the immigration changes also slash rights for Britons.

    Where we currently have the right to easily live, work, study, live, retire to 31 other countries – bureaucracy free – you are now stealing that from us.

    And you are doing it to appease unappeasable xenophobes – many of whom have probably never even met a migrant. Just so we are clear what this means.

    1. Jagman84
      January 29, 2019

      Still laughing at you, Andy. Britons emigrated to other countries, well before the EU existed. It was with the consent of the nation receiving them. If the EU27 no longer wish to allow British nationals to migrate, it is their choice. I firmly believe that they will be happy to continue to welcome us. Your angry view is just wishful thinking.

      1. Andy
        January 29, 2019

        And Britons will still emigrate after Brexit too.

        All you have done is guarantee that the only ones who can do it easily are the elite. The public school types who gifted you Brexit.

        You foolishly think these rich white privileged men are on your side. They are not. You are the little people that they will shaft at the earliest opportunity.

        Other countries will still welcome them. Other countries will still welcome me too – I have enough money for it. You? Bless. Good luck.

        1. Edward2
          January 30, 2019

          The elite are all pro EU.

    2. Pud
      January 29, 2019

      And you fail to mention how many UK citizens take advantage of living in other EU countries.
      1.3 million people born in the UK live in other EU countries, according to 2017 estimates from the United Nations ( and the 2017 UK population was 66 million (Office for National Statistics).
      Only 2% of UK citizens live in the EU but the other 98% have the burden of EU membership to let them do so. Doesn’t sound fair to me.

    3. Al
      January 29, 2019

      “Where we currently have the right to easily live, work, study, live, retire to 31 other countries – bureaucracy free – you are now stealing that from us.”
      Andy, that right (to avoid doing paperwork) came at the cost of many other people’s right to earn a living. Leave talk about mitigating potential damage to industries that may be caused by Brexit, but I have not yet heard any Remainer talk about how to mitigate the existing and future damage to industries and people caused by remaining in the EU.

      If they acknowledge the damage and talked about how to correct it, I’d have more time for them. Instead my experience has been that when the figures are shown, Remainers become abusive.

    4. libertarian
      January 30, 2019


      Seeing as very very few young people actually did this in the 40 years we have been members I think we can ignore that as a problem

      More young people have gone to other non EU parts of the world to live and work that have gone to the EU

      The elite, “public school types” are the ones who want to remain Andy . Get a grip

  12. Denis Cooper
    January 29, 2019

    On the more general topic of today’s Commons debate and votes, JR, it really is time that Theresa May, and some other MPs, stopped pandering to the EU’s paranoia.

    Deal or no deal with the EU the day after we have left the EU all the goods in circulation in the UK, including in Northern Ireland, will still be required to conform to EU rules just as much as they did the day before we left.

    That will be a matter of UK law, which independent of any agreement with the EU will continue to preserve all EU law for the time being, and while we will become a “third country” as far as the EU is concerned that does not mean that we will suddenly start to resemble some third world country without effective rule of law.

    And if in the future we started to diverge from the EU’s rules on goods, as we might do, then the EU still need only concern itself about any goods that leave the UK and cross the borders into its own territory, and Parliament could easily pass new laws to prohibit and prevent the export to the EU of any goods that the EU would regards as illicit.

    There would be no practical need for the EU to step up border checks on our exports, or to
    build a Maginot line of defences along its side of the Irish land border, that would just be a manifestation of paranoia, although a very selective paranoia.

    It is now nearly two years since I wrote in a comment on this blog:

    “I think we may need UK legislation to guarantee to the EU governments that our exporters into their markets will always comply with their requirements, but with its application restricted to exporters to the EU and not affecting the great majority of UK businesses which do not intend to serve those foreign markets.”

    And yet MPs either can not, or will not, grasp the simple point that what stays in the UK need only concern the UK authorities and need not become the concern of the EU, or for that matter any other foreign authority.

    Or are we to supinely apply all the, often conflicting, laws of all our various export markets within the UK, as the EU assumes we should do in its case?

  13. Dave Andrews
    January 29, 2019

    Population density in the UK is already unpleasantly high. Rather than a low inward immigration figure, we need a modest emigration figure. With all the concern over natural resources and pollution, we certainly don’t want migration from warm countries to the winter cold UK, where warmth requires the burning of fossil fuels.
    I’m surprised the Green Party don’t make more of this, rather they have a policy of building 500,000 houses. Obviously phoneys.
    In a country that already doesn’t produce enough food to feed the population, farmland is being replaced with more housing. This is the wrong direction.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      Well density is quite high is some places like London but not so high in many other places like Wales, much of the the North, Southwest and Scotland. The real problem is that successive governments have increased the population without building the roads, houses, schools, heath care services, airports or much of the other infrastructure needed. They have held GDP per cap down and increases tax rates, energy costs, employment laws and regulation hugely – so as to rend the UK less competitive. This is what socialist like May do.

    2. John C.
      January 29, 2019

      This is all good clear sense, and will therefore be ignored, except by the likes of Andy, who will abuse it.

    3. Kim Terry
      January 29, 2019

      Cheshire girl. I agree with what you say. We wanted to move to Australia and my husband had his City and Guilds in heating and plumbing with a 5 year apprenticeship with British Gas. We were turned down because of his age even though they needed people like him. We should take the people with the necessary skills needed st the time and that might mean taking on low paid workers as in the care and catering trades.

    4. Kim Terry
      January 29, 2019

      Well said Dave.

  14. Old Albion
    January 29, 2019

    Zero immigration for five years after our departure from the EU.
    Then an Australian style policy.
    No criminals.

  15. Caterpillar
    January 29, 2019

    We need to set a long-term maximum equilibrium population and have policies to not exceed it. Alongside this we need to identify the required infrastructure and housing, and look at the viable production of these to determine maximum transient growth rate. I.e. we should plan the destination not just the journey.

    In terms of ‘selection’, employment with income greater than a multiple of GDP per capita (multiple chosen based on required immigration), applicants who have completed STEM MSc or PhD in UK, temporary workers who will send remittances to home countries (and move our overseas aid budget to military), committment to 2 or fewer children, committment to democracy (secularism), socially liberal.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      Very easy indeed to get a STEM BSc or MA at many of the UK’s so called “Universities”, you just have to be able to afford to live and or get a loan for the fees for three or four years. Half of people going have 3 Ds at A level or even less. Should they really be doing a degree at all?

      1. Caterpillar
        January 30, 2019

        I didn’t include BSc, only post-grad.

  16. Stephen Almond
    January 29, 2019

    A question for you, John.
    How big would you like to see the population of the UK become?

    Reply I am happy with the promises of much reduced migration in the last Conservative Manifesto (and the two previous ones) and want the government to keep their promise.

    1. John C.
      January 29, 2019

      Dr Redwood’s reply is of course no reply, and that’s the problem. Even the more responsible members of our ruling Elite just won’t address this point.

  17. Alan Jutson
    January 29, 2019

    We only allow people in who we really need that will benefit the country or business, and where they cannot get a suitable person already resident here to do the job.
    The job should be advertised for 6 months in the UK only before any overseas people are sought.

    Similar systems operate in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc.

    New immigrants should have their own private health cover for 5 years before then qualifying for NHS care or any benefits.

    No one with a criminal record should be allowed to enter unless it is time expired by a minimum of 15 years (less serious crime at that)

    1. Lifelogic
      January 29, 2019

      Well that depends on the crime. In the UK just filing some return late something (perhaps because you were ill or a little forgetful) can be a crime!

      Or driving like the Duke of Edinburgh perhaps might be for many!

  18. David James Potter
    January 29, 2019

    I am a great believer of “soft” power. According to “The Soft Power 30 Report” the UK comes top of the list. Therefore, I would like to see no restriction on the number of overseas students coming to, say, the top 50 UK universities (although I am open to changing that number but it should not be open to every “so called” university). The number of overseas students to those universities should not be counted as part of migration limits. On that point why do we need an immigration target at all? Whilst here they would need health insurance so as to be no drain on the NHS. Once they have completed their studies they should be free to remain provided they have a well paid job or to go elsewhere. If they choose to leave they will, hopefully, have a very positive view of this country which is only to our good.
    As to other forms of immigration I would like to see that no new migrant could not be in receipt of any benefits such as child support, working tax credit, housing benefit etc. for a period of, say, 2 years. They would, of course, be entitled to those benefits after that time.
    As to how they would qualify for entry to this country I am positive, given the way our politicians have performed over the last two and a half years, that Parliament should set the rules but not the overall numbers. Thus the fruit and vegetable growers would be free to bring in as many people as they need on short term visas provided the growers provided health insurance so their workers would not need the NHS. For those other employers they would also need to provide health insurance. As for the rules I agree with other commentators that a points system similar to the Australian system would seem appropriate.

  19. Chris Dark
    January 29, 2019

    While we have British-born youngsters with decent high-level qualifications (degrees, masters, PhDs) languishing in flakey office jobs and poorly-paid short-term contracts with no hope of a permanent position then immigration shouldn’t even be on the menu. Get our own people into full worthwhile employment FIRST, before dangling carrots to foreigners. Why is it so difficult? bucket-loads of talent have been wasted in the past ten years. If you read the IET magazine, the country is supposedly screaming out for engineers and technicians….and yet numerous suitably qualified British folk are sifted out at interviews for all kinds of perverse reasons.

    1. Anonymous
      January 30, 2019

      My own trade’s engineering magazine never has a white male on the front cover now.

  20. Iain Moore
    January 29, 2019

    The Government’s immigration bill going through Parliament shows us everything that is wrong with our immigration system, it’s a Heath Robinson system of exceptions , EU migrants can stay for three months, or if they want to stay and work for longer they have to apply, with some regard to low wages as well as skilled employment, and there is a gift of British citizenship in there as well. We know for a fact that our useless Home Office couldn’t manage the proverbial in a brewery , let alone an immigration system that has several stages that require some management of migrants already in the country. We know they can’t do it, with it being another screw up in the making, and they must surely be aware of their shortcomings, so why propose a system of such complexity? Fo myself it’s for the simple reason that it being politically impossible to have free movement, they instead they have gone for free movement by the mismanagement of a complex system.

    Any immigration system has to be simple and idiot proof, for anything else will be screwed up by the Home Office. So it seems a points system is the best bet, at least other countries have shown how to do it, so they don’t even have to work out how to do it.

  21. The Prangwizard
    January 29, 2019

    ‘If’we leave in March. How many times have we been lectured that we will be leaving in March. How many times have thought we will be betrayed over it? Now we have Sir John always careful with his words writing IF. Are the Tories going to betray the country for the sake of party preservation, again?

  22. SecretPeople
    January 29, 2019

    I don’t agree with the idea that anyone with earnings above a certain threshold out to be able to come. Obviously under these conditions immigration will spike upwards. We do still need a cap; in fact we need a reduction, not to mention some knowledge about who is already here.

    We have already read in the news that there are non-EU migrants who claim their income is higher than it is in order to gain entry. Under the current proposals this fraud would likely be encouraged. Employers should be made to sponsor workers they bring in from overseas, so that they are not a drain on our already overcommitted resources. Same with extended family. This should encourage employers to prioritise providing training and progression for British people. Maybe we could incentivise this approach.

    On undercutting low wage workers, I don’t see why it is desirable to undercut high paid workers either. Rather than import doctors from other countries who need them, for example, why not put plans in place to train, retain and entice back our own?

    1. SecretPeople
      January 29, 2019


  23. Iain Gill
    January 29, 2019

    Sounds similar to the rules for Intra Company Transfer Visas, which have not worked, are routinely abused, have decimated the local IT workforce, have led to lots of people ending up with indefinite leave to remain who should never have been allowed in, has led to lots of the best British intellectual property leaking abroad to undercut us.

    Dont the political class talk to practioners with first hand experience instead of the usual bunch of big business lobby organisations? ever? and why do the dismiss us when we quite properly give the obvious feedback?

    We the people have no faith that the political class is capable of delivering proper immigration control.

    The coach loads from Bulgaria and Romania are still arriving at Victoria coach station every day, and other destinations too no doubt, I really dont see any political will amongst our supposed leadership to do anything about it.

    As for the more highly skilled routes the NHS is still planning to import lots, by virtue of the fact they are no planning to train sufficient locals.


    Shambles a complete and utter shambles.

  24. L Jones
    January 29, 2019

    ”…shortly after March 29 if we leave then…”
    Why not ”after we leave on 29 March”?

    So you too are doubting our being allowed to leave as lawfully arranged, Dr Redwood?

    Reply I expect and want us to leave on 29 March, but of course Parliament could legislate to delay if it also had the consent of the EU

    1. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      Reply to reply

      Those are chilling words, aren’t they? ”…. if it also had the consent of the EU…”

      The consent of the EU. Says it all, really. The reason we need to leave.

  25. Bryan Harris
    January 29, 2019

    Immigration should be driven by business – They should be made to detail what their requirements are, including the type of labour required, professional, technical or other. The Home office should then collate the results after vetting them to make sure they are accurate and – an important point – that the vacancies cannot be filled from the existing pool of unemployed in this country.
    That would be a simple process, open to examination and done without any kind of prejudice.
    It should be a requirement that immigrants speak English, and agree in writing to become a true British citizen.

    1. forthurst
      January 29, 2019

      Immigration most certainly should not be driven by business otherwise there would be an indefinite expansion of the workforce and a consequent indefinite expansion of the population when we are already overfull. Foreign multinationals should not be allowed to come here as several have done and simply import their workforce leaving the British people to absorb the social cost of their presence. Businesses should pay British people to work and if they can’t afford to, they should either close or move elsewhere.

      1. Bryan Harris
        January 30, 2019

        @ forthurst
        WE have to start somewhere with an immigration policy – but it would be up to the Home office to ensure British people are employed first before any foreigners….
        Foreign multinationals should not be a special case, and their labour requirement should be treated like any other case if they move business to the UK.
        But I accept your point that companies should not be allowed to get away with excessive demands, especially when there is a pool of labour already in the UK

  26. bigneil
    January 29, 2019

    This probably won’t get posted, never mind answered. I’d like the govt to tell us how many people have come into this country (that they know of ) that have sat down and done NOTHING towards the costs of their lives here. How many houses do they take up, how much do they cost us in housing benefits, NHS, schooling etc etc. EVERYTHING is paid for from our taxes. Don’t/won’t learn the language, ensuring the cost of translators is also on us.etc edNot just how many are here – how much is wasted on them and why are they allowed to do it? Is it because their cost is only balanced by the reduction in services we see every year?

    1. John C.
      January 29, 2019

      Well, it got posted, but there will never be any action on this front, because it would be too embarrassing. And of course they won’t have the figures anyway.

    2. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      Those are chilling words, aren’t they? ”…. if it also had the consent of the EU…”

      The consent of the EU. Says it all, really. The reason we need to leave.

  27. Everhopeful
    January 29, 2019

    I have often read that the Tory party is “addicted” to cheap labour. The Labour Party is addicted to open borders.
    So what is the point of us having an opinion on the matter of mass immigration?
    Anyone …anyone….can see that for any quality of life the country is already overfull.
    ( I do always wonder what the ruling classes will think/do when they too suffer the privations??) Do they have a magic escape route?
    What is the point of us having any opinion on anything…as Brexit has proved our “ democracy” was always just a devious and fantastical construct to pacify the masses.

  28. a-tracy
    January 29, 2019

    Our government doesn’t even know who is here now! All of those Windrush people undocumented, no evidence they had been working and living here for years, how? Why? It’s just unbelievable.

    We keep reading we are supporting asylum seekers for years and years on end with nothing expected in return for their board and allowances are these programs telling the truth or is this just more lies? This has to stop. I’ve seen some of the hell holes they’re living in on the tv news and documentaries, what is stopping them being trained to fix them up themselves, what is there is to stop these fit young men doing DIY?

    Then we hear of people refused our hospitality being able to hold on for years on end moaning about it racking up lawyers fees, either we have rules or we don’t bother and if we don’t bother about removing people then stop supporting them and they must have to support themselves like the rest of us have to. We are told Scotland has severe people shortages in some locations offer to relocate them and train people for the work that is available in these ghosting towns.

    I don’t have a problem with immigration per se, just our benefits system that rewards people for bad behaviour and pays out child benefits to Countries outside the UK where those top-up benefits are more than the mothers could earn in their own Countries – it is an insult to working UK mothers who can’t afford to stay at home because everything here is just so expensive, then we pay out top-ups to poor wages on just 16 hours per week to all-comers, plus we have a multitude of gig workers who don’t document or pay their taxes and are thus invisible.

    We have rules for slum landlords then don’t apply them and/or stop homes of multiple occupation rules being broken. London ignore this so that you can keep the plates spinning and it’s just like modern day slavery.

  29. Alison
    January 29, 2019

    A criterion for entry, that that person’s coming here does not deprive his/her home country of important skills needed by that country.
    Another blanket criterion: that any skilled immigration is allowed only if the UK government (and devolved governments) actively run education/higher education/vocational training for the areas where there is immigration need.

  30. Alison
    January 29, 2019

    Off topic, apologies: I am aghast at the Malthouse Compromise. Playing into EU hands. Handing over the Crown jewels in return for vassalage and economic misery. Resulting in a lot more austerity.

  31. Matt
    January 29, 2019

    Why’s John Redwood wasting his time posting about this?

    Unless there’s a withdrawal agreement we’re not leaving the EU on March 29th, or ever.

    1. Mark B
      January 29, 2019

      We are scheduled to Leave on 29th March 2019 with or without a Withdrawal Agreement.

    2. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      Exactly the words the Remainers like to hear, Matt. Perhaps you shouldn’t keep saying them – it sounds defeatist. Should we just roll over then?

  32. BenD
    January 29, 2019

    None of this will be a problem into the future, we are not going to have people coming here in the same numbers- because people will not come to where they do not feel welcome, they will instead find other places to go. What we will still get here are the desperate unfortunate types from Africa and other third world places always trying it on. Very likely we will have to use the new powers we get at supporting services on the front line to combat this

  33. nshgp
    January 29, 2019

    What criteria would you want the government to use when deciding who can gain entry to work here?


    It should apply to people already here. To have two classes of migrants is discrimination.

    1. No criminals.

    We deport those who commit crimes here
    If you have a criminal record you cannot come.

    2. No discrimination.

    Gay, straight. black white, young old, …. all irrelevant. The same rules for an EU national as for anyone else. Including the Irish.

    3. Net contributors only.

    Each migrant has to pay a minimum tax of 12K per year, with say, 6 months paid in advance. That gets you a residency permit.

    For remainers who want more migrants I propose the ability to sponsor a migrant, where they agree to guarantee the tax. If a company wants to bring in a worker and pay them min wage, they can. The migrant pays £13.11 a week in tax. The company then pays 11,500 to top the tax up to the minimum.

    [You need a health check to prevent health tourism]

    4. No cap.

    You don’t need one.

    What this changes is that people have the right of consent. They can’t be forced to pay 30 bn a year to subsidise low paid migrants. If they do consent, they can sponsor.

    Now this is far better than a points based system.

    Points based systems have many faults. The civil servant selects people who still need subsidies. Civil servants reject people who would have been net contributors. They would reject entrepreneurs. Under the tax system, the entrepreneur takes the gamble. Pay the tax, and if it works great for them and the UK. If it doesn’t well no one else loses.

    The last problem with Points based is that some has the points, arrives works for a year or two and then becomes a burden on others. It’s a single check. Tax based is far better.

    Tax based is also simple to implement because it uses HMRC, not some new quango.

  34. JM
    January 29, 2019

    The hard fact is that immigrants, by and large, come to do the jobs that those already here do not want to do. It was ever thus. Parts of our economy, e.g. agriculture, depend on low wage labour. If we say that we will not admit people to do that work because they will not earn enough, then we put at risk, in the short term at least, sectors of our economy.

    The whole point of taking back control of our borders is that we can then decide who we admit, to do what and on what terms. If we need people to do the grunt work, then we should admit them. What we do not need to do is admit their families or pay benefits to families abroad, as now occurs with eastern Europeans.

    1. Everhopeful
      January 29, 2019

      Housing,transport and an inflexible benefits system make agricultural jobs inaccessible to people.
      Employers have shrugged off many of their age old responsibilities and handed them over to the tax payer.
      It isn’t so much that people don’t want the jobs is just that employers and govt have made the jobs impossible to do and cheap foreign labour is so attractive. ( Suits foreign workers too earning in a high value currency).
      The social capital of the manorial system has finally been wiped away.

    2. Jagman84
      January 29, 2019

      The agricultural jobs are not offered to locals. They are mostly agency workers who area compelled to live in communal caravans for poverty wages. Still better than from where they came. Lincolnshire is especially blighted by this.

      1. Anonymous
        January 30, 2019

        Indeed. My brother lost vital work ferrying UK workers by mini bus each morning because of this.

        Whilst the welfare set up enables a choice why would anyone (including on this forum) do such low paid and menial work on the insistence of farmers that they live on the land (away from families) paying rent to them on already low wages ?

    3. Anonymous
      January 29, 2019

      Who did the work before Maastricht then ?

  35. Meddy
    January 29, 2019

    Why does John Redwood think migration needs to be ‘qualification’ based?

    The amount of money someone earns and tax they pay out of it, is the SOLE determinant of their net economic worth to any business or to the country.

    Migration is required to serve the demand for skilled labour not to provide people whom’s ‘qualifications’ we can admire.

    The idea that the State should be assessing what labour employers need or can have, is preposterous.

    Students can obviously come because like tourists they are NOT migrants. Students are paying customers for Universities. If they want to do some work whilst they’re here so much the better.

    Overwhelmingly the simplest, non socialist, market led, immigration ‘policy’ is to let anyone come subject to criminal record and other security and personal suitability assessment, provided that

    1. The earn a minimum salary of £26,000 a year.

    2. Either they or their potential employers pay a deposit of (say) £5,000 up front which they get back when they go.

    3. Neither they, nor their families EVER become entitled to any Social Housing, and Benefits etc etc etc, unless and until they apply to become UK Citizens and are accepted.

    4. They pay an extra (say) £250 a month charge on top of the tax they pay, only get emergency public services free at the point use and have to pay up front for the rest.

    Some exceptions might be possible for NHS employees in short supply.

    1. Captain Peacock
      January 29, 2019

      About 30 years ago my wife got a job as a nurse in Basingstoke when we went to sign on for a council house we were told as you came from London you made yourself deliberately homeless and are not entitled to go on the housing list.
      So how can people coming from places like Rumanian be given council houses?

    2. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      ”… whom’s (sic) qualifications we admire… ” – the word ”qualification” doesn’t just apply to certificates, so it’s not an issue of elitism. It simply means anyone ”qualified” to do the job. So, yes, our ”state” should assess what our country requires, and expect employers to justify their requirements.

    3. Caterpillar
      January 29, 2019


      I believe your net economic worth argument is incomplete:

      1.if a migrant salary is at 26k he/she is likely adding less than GDP per capita to GDP and with dependants almost certainly less. Hence economic well-being on average is lower. Moreover Gini coefficient is likely higher which correlates with other social costs.
      2. Physical capital per capita is reduced as the accumulated physical capital is shared over more people (unless migrants bring resources to fund capital formation without crowding out).

      In line with the above two points assessing qualifications can be important

      1. Some qualifications forecast the future likelihood of adding more than GDP per capita each year.
      2. Qualifications are a proxy for human capital (the investment has already been made) and so could offset the dilution of physical capital.

  36. formula57
    January 29, 2019

    We ought to repudiate the notion that anyone who expects to be able to better their own lives (and they may well be correct) by moving to this country is somehow entitled to do so.

    1. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      Yes. We have been a lifeboat for many up to now – good. But when a lifeboat starts trying to save too many, it’s not a lifeboat any more, then everyone drowns.

  37. Denis Cooper
    January 29, 2019

    On BBC News this morning, Helen Dickinson, the Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, claimed that if we left the EU without a deal:

    “The UK would automatically default to what are called WTO, World Trade Organisation, tariffs on goods that are coming in from the EU; the UK government could reduce those tariffs but if it did that it would have to do it for all products coming from all countries and so it’s very unlikely they will do that across the piece.”

    And some of those “WTO tariffs” are high – 10%, 20%, 30%, even 40%.

    Later the turncoat Liam Fox was interviewed, and reference was made to these claims by the British Retail Consortium. At no point did he contradict them, let alone dismiss them as the nonsense that they are, instead he used them to push Theresa May’s deal. So now we know that the government is happy for this scaremongering to be ramped up, and we can guess that much of it is actually being initiated in Downing Street.

    Later again on BBC News two Labour MPs separately cited these dire warnings from the British Retail Consortium, nonsense which the government could easily have rebutted if it wanted to, as another reason for insisting that we must have a deal before we leave.

    Meanwhile Liam Fox said that there must be a “meaningful” and “legally binding” change to the Irish “backstop”, but he did not specify that the change must ensure that we will no longer be subject to EU Customs Union and Single Market rules.

    Actually I think this could be the most despicable government of my lifetime, at least so far. I will need to think more about that and reflect on the perfidy of past governments, but it is possible that this is the worst I have ever witnessed.

    1. Ian
      January 29, 2019

      Well said,
      Thanks for having the guts to talk Common sence, such a shame there are so few politicians who have the same degree of honesty

    2. Ian
      January 29, 2019

      Denis Cooper,
      This has to be The worst government since the war, just what our fathers would make of the sacrifice there generation made, millions died that we should be Free.

      The vast majority of politicians are all trying to enhance there careers, by simply taking the views of all the three parties, there is nothing between any of them.
      Parliament no longer works as was its design.
      The Lords are worse, be cause they are there for life.
      It is all a scandal

    3. Helen Smith
      January 29, 2019

      Nope, it is indeed the worse because they are pretty well all, with the exception of our host, reneging on not one but two solemn promises to us.

    4. Hope
      January 29, 2019

      Dennis, it is the worst and most dishonest govt I can ever remember. I am currently hearing all these traitors trying to rule out no deal. What leverage will the govts have it it does? It means it will accept any deal or negotiate forever without ever leaving.

      Radical change required, the swamp needs clearing.

    5. Anonymous
      January 29, 2019

      Worse than Blair.

      Scrap Parliament. It’s just become an insult.

    6. L Jones
      January 29, 2019

      You’re right, Mr Cooper. Perhaps the present MPs are too busy feathering their nests to care what the ”little people” think and therefore will be content to lose their ”jobs” come the next GE (if indeed we have ”the consent of the EU” – to use our host’s words on another subject – to hold one).
      After all, they’ve probably, every one, got something lucrative lined up at the end of their political ”career” be it soon or late.

    7. Rien Huizer
      January 29, 2019

      @ Denis Cooper

      Very likely your views will be put to the test soon!

  38. Christine
    January 29, 2019

    Our immigration system has been abused for decades. Much of it aided and abetted by our politicians and educational institutions. Our own youngsters can’t get on training courses for things like nursing because foreign students are preferred because there is no cap on their fees. Then because we are short of nurses they get jobs here and are allowed to stay. Then because of family reunification their extended family can move here. I would give preferential access to English students for English courses with a quota system. I would put an end to family reunification.

    Of course none of this is going to happen with May in charge. If she was serious about cutting immigration she wouldn’t have signed the UN Global Compact For Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

    I’m afraid we are being conned yet again with this Government paying lip service to the concerns of the public. It’s all about continued access to cheap labour for their business friends. Labour is no better. They champion the poor from the rest of the world rather than the low paid in this country. MPs pay should be linked to their performance and if they don’t manage to deliver what’s in their manifesto they should be paid less.

  39. Neil
    January 29, 2019

    John – re the ASD (Abject Surrender Plan); the backstop is not the only issue. As a former military man I am disappointed that no members of the ERG, including your good self, have highlighted the potential damage to our military and security inherent in May’s Plan, never mind our inability to pursue, immediately, free trade deals around the world.

  40. Brigham
    January 29, 2019

    I voted not to join the EEC. I voted to leave the EU. I will be 85 in a couple of months. Will I see us as a free nation ever? I would like us to crash out to freedom.

  41. GregH
    January 29, 2019

    Stupid people..staring over the cliff edge and you still can’t see it

    To the EU it looks very like Mrs May has caved in to the hardline ERG

    But The EU is not going to negotiate with the ERG- even if Junkers holds talks the EU parliament will never accept a changed WA

    1. Anonymous
      January 30, 2019

      “Leave the EU” was what was on the ballot slip.

      What aren’t you getting about that ?

      And yet again. Insults !

  42. Dominic
    January 29, 2019

    Treachery on an epic scale is now being organised by certain Tory MPs and Labour as they back the preposterous and utterly disgusting ‘Cooper amendment’ designed to crush the electoral choice of 17.50 million voters that won the EU referendum held in 2016 and completely prevent the natural exit of our nation from the EU

    How dare these fools challenge our democracy.

    This is what happens when you vote for the two main parties. They come together in duopolistic fashion and simply ignore our demands

    Why oh why did Labour’s traditional heartlands vote Leave and then give pro-EU Labour their support at the subsequent GE in 2017? Explain that conundrum.

    Absolute and utterly vile

  43. Billy Marlene
    January 29, 2019


    Well, that’s it then.

  44. Karl
    January 29, 2019

    What’s going on today in the HoC is just more of TM running down the clock. There is not the slighest chance Verhofstadt and the EU parliament are going to back any change to the WA.
    Whatever chance in the Commission for changes there is no chance in the Parliament as long as Farage Hannan and Co are in situ. No chance

  45. Denis Cooper
    January 29, 2019

    Off-topic, just take a look at these letters in the Irish Times today:

    and especially this:

    “On the surface, “hard border” means guarding and defending with men, women and technology, the porous Irish/EU land border against abuses of the EU’s single market and custom union, in the event of a calamitous Brexit.”

    When, if ever, will this useless UK government make it clear to the Irish, to the EU, and to the world at large, that we have no desire or intention to abuse the EU’s single market and customs union, and we would be happy to co-operate to protect the integrity of the EU’s arrangements, but without being ourselves subject to their rules?

  46. Captain Peacock
    January 29, 2019

    We keep been told there is a housing crisis and a crisis in the health service then we hear its all the fault of the elderly. If you flood the country with an extra 1 million people every 2 or 3 years all resources will be scarce.

    1. Anonymous
      January 30, 2019

      There is also a schools and transport crisis so go figure.

  47. Helen Smith
    January 29, 2019

    All this is by the by if Cooper and Grieve are allowed to get away with their amendments today. 320Mps will cancel the Brexit 17.4 m of us voted for and which they promised us faithfully they would not block.

    All manifestos will be null and void in future, Labour ‘moderates’ and Tories could stop Corbyn from enacting Corbynomics. Voting is now pointless so let’s get our yellow vests on.

  48. Iain Gill
    January 29, 2019

    So Sajid the home secretary has officially abandoned the “down to the tens of thousands” immigration promise, which has been in all recent Conservative party manifestos. Thats right Mrs May’s promises to deliver while actually pulling the levers of power in the opposite direction have finally been acknowledged for what they always were, lies.

    Makes the remainer MP’s voting contrary to what their manifesto promise to leave the EU look honourable.

    I really struggle to see who the Conservative party imagine their voters are going to be come election time.

    I hope somebody forms a new party soon.

  49. Lynn Atkinson
    January 29, 2019

    First priority is for ethnic Britons to be allowed to ‘come home’ regardless of their level of qualifications or talent. They are our own flesh and blood and have a right to ‘come home’.

    1. Iain Gill
      January 29, 2019

      It is certainly not right that British citizens who have been living abroad a while, in say Australia, are not entitled to free NHS on their return to the UK. Especially as often they have been engaged in business which is a benefit to the UK.

  50. Karl
    January 29, 2019

    DD says the EU always settles at the ladt moment..big mistake

  51. Den
    January 29, 2019

    We should seek the collective advice of other Westernised Countries around the World, outside of the EU, to establish a common ground to work from. If a job cannot be filled by a British citizen the Employer should then seek a preferential stay- time limited visa from the Home Office before anyone is permitted to enter under it. Our joke of an immigration system is abused each and every day because it is too ambiguous. It is time those in charge took charge and got their house in order.

  52. ian
    January 29, 2019

    Anything that any MPs or party says about immigration you can with a pinch of salt, they carry on doing whatever they like whoever is in control of parliament, what the people want will not be a consideration.

  53. Pat
    January 29, 2019

    I would propose that any immigration policy should address two issues, who and how many.
    As to who we should accept people who are useful to us and willing to obey our laws and respect our customs and reject any found to be criminals or wishing to subvert the law or constitution. And expel any of the latter kinds if such activity is discovered after their arrival. I would anticipate that these would mainly be people commanding a median wage or better, but should the skill set of the current population rise to such a level that we are short of say car washers then we should allow them in. In any instance where we are permitting immigration because of a particular skill shortage we should be introducing incentives and training opportunities such that future immigration will be unnecessary in that regard.
    How many will depend on what skills we are short of and the availability of housing.
    One would expect immigration to be restricted at a time of high unemployment and less so at a time of full employment. Similarly we should expect immigration to be restricted in a time of housing shortage and less so when there is sufficient housing. Obviously we should address high employment when it occurs, not simply restrict immigration and similarly we should address the housing shortage in any case.

  54. Ga an see
    January 29, 2019

    You never publish my best stuff. Mind you, I never write comments using any of my best stuff.Nor write my best stuff anywhere. Walls have ears. I never say even to myself my best stuff. There is much good in me

    1. Mark B
      January 30, 2019

      Well, if that is the best that you can do, I guess we will have to take it.

  55. MPC
    January 29, 2019

    I thought Sajid Javid’s outline of a new policy a few weeks ago seemed sound – generally a minimum income level but with special arrangements where necessary for specific sectors in advance of the UK generating enough indigenous people to do the work properly – such as agriculture and the NHS which could involve visas/work permits for those allowed in.

    But if the Withdrawal Agreement were to be voted through then the ECJ would remain paramount in legal terms, so all this would no doubt become irrelevant.

  56. Gordon Hetherington
    January 29, 2019


    For economic migrants, I think that the test should be the benefit that they actually bring to the UK; and it should be a high barrier. Where there are key skill shortages in the UK, the enduring answer is not to be found in yet further permanent immigration but in training our own people for the jobs that are actually available.

    For genuine asylum seekers, we should continue our historic generosity. Those coming to the UK from safe third countries [such as France] should be returned without delay.


  57. Anonymous
    January 29, 2019

    When we voted in the 2016 referendum we voted to leave.

    Not for the Conservatives to say “Ah. This gives us grounds to further negotiate with the EU.”

    I fear the worst for our country now.

    1. Mark B
      January 30, 2019

      That’s the thing, they are doing a CMD. Negotiate (sic) until you have enough to take back and claim success. Worked for Wilson, Major and even Blair, but alas none of the others. But hey, maybe Teresa the Appeaser might get lucky.

  58. Andrea Wood
    January 29, 2019

    Having lived and worked abroad I would like to share with you the process I had to undergo in order to work in the UAE. I had to provide apostolated certificates of my birth, marriage and qualifications. I had to provide the results of a HIV test which had to be negative. A letter from my employer guaranteeing that I had employment to go to, that no local could be found to do the work, that I had health insurance in place and that I would be flown home should I lose my job so as not to be a burden on the state. I have also had to undergo similar procedures in the Netherlands, Malaysia and Gabon. If all these countries can do it, then so should we. Btw language interpretation was provided at my own expense!

  59. rose
    January 29, 2019

    Coming here to work shouldn’t automatically entitle the worker and his extended family to permanent status and full benefits as British Subjects. Nor should just arriving here and claiming asylum. We hold British nationality far too cheap and continually under estimate just how many billions of people would like to be British subjects. The open door has to shut.

    Naturally, employers would like to have unlimited numbers of foreigners to drive down wages and conditions, and it is surprising how many on the left support them on this. But we must get back to educating and training our own children, even if it costs more in the short term. The costs of not doing so in the long term are too frightening to contemplate.

    In the meantime it has been very pleasant having the Poles and Hungarians etc here (not their criminals) and it would be nice to think they have set an example in high standards of work, English, attitude, and service.

  60. Dennis Zoff
    January 29, 2019

    Off topic, if I may.

    The NI Backstop is an EU/EIRE/May contrived red herring!

    I trust there will be a significant discussion on the other dreadful aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement? Please keep T. May’s feet to the fire!

    ….otherwise, we are stamping on on the ants and letting the elephants through!

  61. Caterpillar
    January 29, 2019

    Off topic-looking forward to post on Tusk’s statement and Spelman’s ‘treachery’.

    1. Caterpillar
      January 29, 2019

      The PM must accept Tusk’s statement and not waste anymore time, the Government must commit everything to preparing to leave with no deal, and putting accelerating tech for the Irish border. On the plus side the Spelman’s vote (50.6%) was closer than the referendum vote so clearly can be ignored.

  62. Fedupsoutherner
    January 29, 2019

    This country is finished because we have been well and truly shafted by Parliament. Damn the lot of them. My X won’t be going to the Conservatives again.

  63. Peter D Gardner
    January 29, 2019

    Hard to believe the government finds it so difficult. If it really needs help why doesn’t it just ask Australia what it does?
    1. If you are likely to be a burden on the state you do not come in, other than to visit, even if you have family resident in UK, unless they act as your guarantors that you will not be a net beneficiary of the state (subject to credit & criminal record checks etc.)
    2. If you have a criminal record other than speeding fines etc, you do not come in.
    3. If you have a notifiable disease you do not come in.
    4. If an organisation has shown it cannot find a suitably qualified candidate for a position from UK and has offered you that job, you can come in.
    5. If you fit a known skills shortage and are clearly qualified you may come in for a limited time to find a job.
    6. If you intend to start a business and have the capital and a business plan and can show reason for probable success and that you will employ a minimum of ten UK citizens, you can come in for a limited time, renewable. you will need a UK guarantor for any debts.
    7. If you do not speak and write English you may not come in. This will be tested.
    8. If you belong to or have associations with undesirable (not necessarily proscribed) organisations you may not come in, either to reside or to visit.
    9. You may come in if you are immediate family of a UK resident provided 1,2, 3,7,8 do not apply.
    10. Where criteria are not black and white points will be awarded or subtracted .
    11. in order to limit total numbers of immigrants, the minimum number of points an other criteria will be reviewed annually and adjusted accordingly.
    12. UK will encourage all immigrants to assimilate and gain a British passport after passing a citizenship course and test. Residency permits (visas) will be issued to immigrants accepted for residency in UK valid for a maximum period of five years. If exiting UK during that time, re-entry will be at the discretion of the appropriate Minister responsible for immigration.
    13. There will be no automatic right of citizenship.
    14. UK reserves the right to revoke residency visas for all the obvious things – public order, bad influence, criminality etc.
    15. UK likewise reserves the right to revoke British citizenship in the case of those also holding a passport of a country other than UK. (Australia bars MPs from holding dual or multi citizenship, which I think is comically self-defeating so don’t copy this aspect!)
    16. No special allowance for any state by sole virtue of membership of the EU or any other economic or political block.

  64. Peter D Gardner
    January 29, 2019

    Postscript. When I applied to emigrate to Australia I had to prove I would not be a burden on the state not only by being financially independent but also by having good health.

  65. ian
    January 30, 2019

    What a circus parliament is, backed up by all clowns and no animals, the speaker calls them perspicacious fellows and in two week time they will be putting on another show for you all.

    Mrs May not only had gov supporters in the Brexiteers camp but also in the remain rebel camp with some labour party MPs voting with Mrs May against her own WA agreement so she can attempt to open talks up with the EU, while the labour leader had some of his MPs vote for Dame clown amendment so he could have talks with Mrs May in downing street.

    EU will not do anything much because they know the circus of clowns and perspicacious fellows will open up again in two weeks time, what a laugh.

  66. Adam
    January 30, 2019

    We should be strict on immigration. The UK is overcrowded, which reduces the quality of life being extended to many of our citizens.

  67. David Webb
    January 30, 2019

    It really is nonsense to suggest that our levels of immigration are because of skills shortages. There are 60 million of us here, with forecasts going much higher ( )

    Of course there are jobs that require international expertise, jobs that require seasonal work, etc. But in general if we’ve got skills shortages we’re either paying too little or not training enough.

    I’ve not looked back at past manifestos, but I bet we’d find promise after promise from Tories and Labour over the last 50 years about controlling immigration – all then ignored.

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