Ipswich MP Tom Hunt: Why I believe we should be able to control our borders
- Credit: Archant
In his latest column, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt speaks about the reaction to speech he gave this week in the House of Commons about immigration.
This week I spoke in the House of Commons chamber (physically) for the first time in a long while. I was one of only a handful in the chamber closely following the strict social distancing rules that have been set out by the parliamentary authorities.
I spoke on the debate of the second reading of the Immigration Bill which will end EU freedom of movement. Later that day I voted in favour of the bill. The Labour Party voted against, continuing their long support of open borders and uncontrolled migration.
As far as I was concerned this was not a debate about whether or not immigration has been a good thing or a bad thing or indeed whether immigration from other EU countries has brought more positives than negatives. This was a debate about whether or not we believe it’s a wise idea going forward for the government of the day (elected by the people of our country) to be able to control our borders and therefore who comes into and out of our country. The simple fact is that by opposing this, the Labour Party have made clear they do not believe that the government of the day should have the ability to decide who comes into and out of the country, therefore they support uncontrolled immigration, I support controlled immigration. This is the debate.
I have of course said on countless occasions that I believe immigration has brought many benefits to both the country and our town. With regards to immigration from other EU countries, something not many of you will know is that when I was at university I specialised in Polish history and this triggered in me a deep appreciation of Polish history, culture and the amazing contribution that Poles have made and continue to make to our country. The positive contribution made by hundreds of thousands of individuals who recently moved to our country from other EU countries and are currently working either in our NHS or care homes has been widely recognised over the past few weeks and of course it was a young nurse from Portugal who played such a pivotal role in saving the life of our own prime minister when he contracted Covid-19.
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But of course when it comes to the local Labour Party all of this nuance is lost. You either uncritically accept all immigration however uncontrolled and whatever the scale as 100% wonderful or you risk being referred by the local thought police (primarily local Labour activists) to the local Constabulary for committing a “hate crime”.
So this week in a speech I said that the current situation where we have no control over immigration from other EU countries inevitably leads to occasions where there are some who have moved to our country from other EU countries haven’t always made a positive impact on communities. The response of the local Labour council leader to this is to attack me for not appreciating the amazing sacrifices made by many of those working either in our NHS or within our care homes. Another prominent local Labour activist who refers to himself as the “Suffolk Coastal Labour spokesperson” and previously stood for parliament attacked me on Twitter stating: “Dog-whistle Hunt (Ipswich MP), is at it again. Discharging his toxic xenophobia & divisive rhetoric”.
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I would say in response to this that having this view on the consequences of mass uncontrolled migration from other EU countries and believing that we should be able to control who comes into and out of the country does not make you a xenophobe. In fact, with regard to sowing division, I believe that deliberately distorting and misrepresenting what people say and hurling abuse at them does far more to do that.
I do believe that the results of the EU referendum and the last general election indicate that there is likely a majority of the population who, whilst recognising the many benefits that immigration has brought to our country, do believe that it is something that should be controlled.
A final point on this topic, if local Labour activists seriously believe that by hurling abuse at me and threatening me is going to silence me on these issues, they’re very much mistaken.
Finally, on a much lighter note, later today I will be shaving my hair off for Suffolk Age UK. There has been some debate about whether a grade three or two is sufficient or whether or whether I should be completely bald. Either way, the next week is parliamentary recess so I have one week for some of the hair to grow back before I next grace the TV screens. Thank you to all of those who have donated. Suffolk Age UK are a fantastic charity who are carrying out hugely important work at the moment and I know like many charities they have been hit by the crisis as they’re unable to carry out many of their traditional fundraising activities. I will be keeping the fundraising page up for a day or so post the head shave to try and get some final donations so if you haven’t donated yet please do.