Responding to the Home Secretary’s admission today that the Government’s plans for post-Brexit immigration might not be published before the ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey described the continued delay as “completely unacceptable”.
Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sajid Javid admitted that he couldn’t say that the long-awaited immigration white paper would be published before MPs vote on Theresa May’s deal on 11th December.
Ministers originally promised to publish the white paper last year, but that deadline has been repeatedly postponed. Ed Davey has written to both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary demanding that they publish the white paper without any further delay.
Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said:
“When it comes to publishing their immigration plans, the Tories seem to be taking the phrase ‘white paper’ far too literally. After years spent talking about ending free movement, they still can’t give us any details of what that really means. This continued delay is completely unacceptable.
“From the reports of Cabinet splits, it seems Theresa May’s own Ministers understand that her obsession with the arbitrary net migration target is disastrous for our economy and our public services. Her proposals would create a huge amount of bureaucracy for British businesses and make the shortage of workers in the NHS and social care a lot worse.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must either publish her immigration proposals now, or admit the truth: that they are simply unworkable.”
Full text of Ed Davey’s letter to the Prime Minister (dated 20th November):
I am deeply concerned that the Government’s White Paper on immigration still hasn’t been published, more than a year after it was originally promised.
You have repeatedly emphasised the importance that you attach to introducing new controls on immigration as part of the Government’s delivery of Brexit. I am sure you will therefore agree with me that the House of Commons should be given plenty of time to consider your proposals for post-Brexit immigration before deciding whether or not to approve the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
It is regrettable that the Government has negotiated the future relationship without spelling out in detail – to Parliament or to the country – what it is seeking to achieve with regards to immigration. It would now be unacceptable to ask MPs to vote on that agreement without sufficient time to scrutinise those plans.
I therefore urge you to publish the White Paper now, without delay. Can you please confirm when it will be published, and tell me how long MPs will have to scrutinise the proposals before the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal takes place?
Rt. Hon. Sir Ed Davey MP
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson
Member of Parliament for Kingston and Surbiton